Just a week after revamping its women's national team competitions, Concacaf W continued its efforts to promote the game to women and girls worldwide with the announcement of its #WeBelong viral campaign. The campaign encourages fans, players and everybody in between to share their inspiring stories on social media.
Karina Le Blanc, a two-time Olympian and former Canadian National Team goalkeeper who now serves as the Concacaf head of women's football, explained why the #WeBelong campaign will last far longer than most viral movements in a statement Thursday.
"We believe we are championing a powerful movement that is here to stay. The message of We Belong transcends football and is meant to empower, shift cultural norms and create opportunities for women and girls. We want to use the power and popularity of football at the top end of the game, which will no doubt be enhanced by our transformative new women's competitions, as a platform to inspire and provide opportunities for girls in all parts of our region. Ultimately, we want women and girls to know that they belong, whether in football or elsewhere in society, and through this campaign Concacaf is calling on the global community to help us spread that essential message."
In addition to the #WeBelong campaign, Concacaf W partnered with the non-profit organization The Sports Bra Project to help women and girls gain access to soccer. Founded by Sarah Dwyer-Shick in 2018, The Sports Bra Project provides sports bras to athletes who are unable to find them.
After starting in the African country of Namibia, The Sports Bra Project has now donated over 4,000 sports bras to athletes across 26 countries, according to its website.
"We were thrilled when Concacaf W approached us to collaborate on this campaign," Dwyer-Shick said in a statement. "The mission of The Sports Bra Project is all about creating access and opportunities that make it possible for women and girls to literally "get in the game. The We Belong campaign addresses the importance of building the experience and confidence needed for girls and women to pursue their goals in all areas of soccer. Having the equipment needed to do this normalizes the conversations around their needs and experiences and is the first step toward belonging."
Concacaf W is encouraging supporters of the #WeBelong movement to purchase branded t-shirts with proceeds of the sales will going toward The Sports Bra Project.
CBS Sports' Jenny Chiu and Marissa Pilla have already done so on Twitter Thursday.
🗣 “When I watched the USWNT win the World Cup in 1999 it just sparked such an inspiration in me.” @Pilla_Talk is a part of an amazing group of women in sports that tries to push each other everyday to remember that #WeBelong 💪 @CBSSports pic.twitter.com/AKDL5xaywe— Concacaf (@Concacaf) August 26, 2021
Former Canadian National Team captain Christine Sinclair also shared her #WeBelong story.
Sinclair said in her video that she believes soccer isn't a "men's game," but rather the "people's game" where everyone belongs. That's the epitome of Concacaf W's #WeBelong movement.
"More than just another t-shirt, this item of clothing serves a symbolic shield of armor that proudly tells the world.... I belong...we belong!" Concacaf chief commercial officer Heidi Pellerano said in a statement. "Together we are one community."