WESTFORD, MA – Sportlifestyle brand PUMA® kicked off the 2011 women’s soccer season during a launch event today, celebrating this momentous year for the sport, a new season for Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), and the debut of the PUMA Women’s Soccer Training Collection. With the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ on the horizon, PUMA pulled out all the stops to showcase its longstanding commitment to women’s soccer, the best female players on the planet, and the millions of young rising stars throughout the world.

In homage to the young woman for whom soccer is everything, PUMA immersed event attendees in a “Day in the Life” of the female footballer, affording them a peek into a young soccer player’s everyday and the chance to engage with the elements of the game (both on and off the field) which she holds so close. Women’s soccer stars who have been living, breathing and playing soccer their whole lives – including PUMA athletes Leslie Osborne, Alex Scott, Karina LeBlanc, and Tasha Kai – joined in the festivities as well, while Amy Rodriguez, currently training with the U.S. Women’s National Team in Florida, sent a special message to the crowd. Alongside the current players, making a special appearance in support of the game was women’s soccer legend and FIFA™ Female Player of the Century Michelle Akers. The athletes were also joined by musician Fefe Dobson, who performed her dance-around-the-locker-room anthem, “Watch Me Move,” from her new album Joy, as part of the evening’s debut of PUMA’s new “Make Football Anywhere” TV spot.

“This is a huge year for women’s soccer, both here in the U.S. and around the world,” said Tara McRae, senior director of marketing for PUMA North America. “And here at PUMA, we are fully committed to supporting the women’s game and truly capturing the women’s soccer space. No other brand understands this young, female soccer player like we do – and with what we have in store for her in 2011, PUMA is poised to become her go-to brand, both on and off the pitch.”

Dress the Part
With that girl in mind, one of the new concepts that made its debut tonight is PUMA’s brand-new Women’s Soccer Training collection. Created for the young soccer player looking to showcase her athlete status in all aspects of her wardrobe, both on the field and off, the collection is colorful, fashion-savvy, and rooted in sport authenticity. It features pre-game options like a sleeveless hoodie or cozy sweatshirts, colorful cropped performance tanks and shorts perfect for a workout session, and bright, layerable tanks and tees that fit right into the young athlete’s weekend wardrobe. The collection is available for purchase beginning today on Eurosport’s dedicated PUMA women’s soccer site, Soccer.com/PUMAWomen, and will launch at PUMA Stores, Shop.PUMA.com, and other retail partners on February 14, 2011.

New Year, New Uniform
As an exclamation point to the evening’s festivities, PUMA unveiled the 2011 Home and Away uniforms for each of the six WPS teams, including the kit debut for brand-new WPS franchise the Western New York Flash.  The new uniforms, part of PUMA’s iconic King line, feature stylish accents, a fit tailored specifically to the female athlete, and the sport-performance attributes that PUMA is known for, including moisture-wicking qualities and mesh inserts for added breathability. “For three straight years now, we’ve seen the best of sport performance and style come together on the field with PUMA’s custom WPS uniforms,” said WPS CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas. “This year’s team kits are no different. In this World Cup year, PUMA’s founding partnership with WPS and its on-going support of women’s soccer is crucial to the growth of the game both in the U.S. and internationally, given the league’s global appeal as the best soccer league for women in the world.”

Players representing their teams as part of PUMA’s presentation included:
Atlanta Beat: Keeley Dowling
Boston Breakers: Alex Scott and Leslie Osborne
MagicTalk SC/Washington Freedom: Nikki Marshall
Philadelphia Independence: Tasha Kai
Sky Blue FC: Allie Long
Western New York Flash: Becky Edwards

Pretty in Pink
PUMA’s commitment to women and soccer extends past the pitch as well. Last year marked the emergence of the brand’s Project Pink initiative, which raised awareness — and over $60,000 in funds — with the help of WPS and its players to support the fight against breast cancer. WPS teams sported custom-designed Project Pink uniforms during designated games in 2010, and tonight marked the debut, with the help of Project Pink supporter Leslie Osborne, of the new pink jersey that will be worn during Project Pink matches in 2011. The program officially kicks off again this July, but PUMA also showcased a selection of this season’s Project Pink product, proceeds from the sales of which will again be donated to a charitable organization affiliated with the cause. More details will be announced in July.

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