Removing Barriers to Sports Participation With Women’s Soccer

Increasing awareness and taking a stand to help less fortunate women all around the world is always a mission. The Marist Women’s soccer team is partnering up with “The Sports Bra Project” on Saturday, October 26 as they take on the Manhattan Jaspers at Tenney Stadium in Poughkeepsie.

Looking to make a difference for girls and women in sports, the Red Foxes are joining hands to create something even bigger than the game itself. The women are helping the project in getting past obstacles to sports participation. Marist will be holding a sports bra drive at the front gates of Tenney Stadium on Saturday accepting any new sports bras to donate to the project. 

“Every February, there is a National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and we started to talk about what we could do throughout the year and came across ‘The Sports Bra Project’, a local and global organization that had a perfect connection with our female athletes who use sports bras,” explained Ali Kenney, Assistant Director and the Student-Athlete Enhancement Advisor for Women’s soccer. 

The project provides sports bras to athletes who do not have access to such a basic piece of equipment for women. It started off in Africa, where the founder, Sarah Dwyer-Shick, had brought a small collection of sports bras to the young soccer players. Sarah then realized that there was very little amount of women who had the luxury of a simple piece of clothing. As Sarah began to look more into this while traveling, it became known to her that something so simple to find in the United States of America was much more difficult to come across in other countries. 

The upcoming game has become a way to spread awareness. “Our goal is to provide opportunities for girls who may not have something as simple as a sports bra,” says Kenney, “Most of the time if you want to play soccer, you just go to the store and buy a sports bra but for a lot of people that’s not an option.”  

Sports bras are a huge barrier as Kenny stated that people “take them for granted, where they have become so uncommon for other athletes around the world which a lot of people don’t know about.”

Sarah Dwyer-Shick has created a national project which has become a great opportunity for female athletes to get involved in. New sports bras are the goal for both the project and the Marist Red Foxes. “This is a unique opportunity for our female athletes to be the ones behind it since it is such a personal thing, and giving another girl the opportunity to play a sport is really an amazing thing,” Kenney added. Marist is also continuing to partner up with The Sports Bra Project throughout the year, with more events with women’s volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, and softball. 

Edited by Alex Azarm

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