I promise this is not an ad. Really, I do.
One of the more common ways to show support for a player or team is to purchase team merchandise. So, how about buying some WoSo merch? Let’s see how feasible this is.
If I wanted to get the kit of one of my favorite football players, could I?
Let's walk through an example and see. I want a Khadija Shaw Bordeaux kit: She is one of my favorite players, one of the top scorers in the French league and from the Caribbean, so my biases scream "get this jersey," but I have no interest or connection to the Bordeaux men's team. Can I get this shirt?
The answer, in this case, is no, unfortunately. Bordeaux doesn't offer any customized kits in its online store, no women players nor men, which is at least consistent. (I am not trying to single Bordeaux out. I just really want a Bunny Shaw jersey).
This example may sound familiar to many fans of women's soccer and leads to the question:
How available is official WoSo merch for club teams?
The first thing we have to do is define "available." This can be broken into the following factors:
1) Does an online shop exist for the team and does it sell replica kits?
2) Are women's team players listed as preset customization options?
3a) Are the appropriate league badges offered as a potential add-on in customization?
3b) Are women's team kits available in straight (typically listed as men's/unisex) sizes?
I present to you... the spreadsheet
At the time of writing, the teams in the top women's leagues in seven countries (Argentina, England, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain and the U.S.) have been added to this document, and their respective online stores have been checked to see if they fulfill the previously listed requirements of availability. The spreadsheet is a living document and will be updated as more information is gathered.
1) Does an online shop exist for the club? Does this shop sell any replica kits?
This was pretty straightforward. The majority of the clubs I checked have both men's and women's teams, and there are very few men's soccer teams that don't sell replica kits. In this sample, 78 out of 98 teams have some form of official online store. Honestly, the ones that don’t are probably a victim of timing, with some websites being down at the time I checked, or my skills with google translate leading to me missing a shop or two.
2) Are women's team player jerseys available as preset customization options?
Sometimes it isn't about the team crest on the front but the name on the back (apologies to Tony Adams). Fans have favorite players and want to be able to rep those players. Many teams give the option to put any name and number on the back of their jerseys. Fairly frequently, you have some preset names available, sometimes at a cheaper cost. An overwhelming majority of clubs do not offer this in their online stores. Only 22 out of the 78 (28%) team stores browsed provide this option
There is a bit of a limitation in the data collection here because teams that offer no preset customizations, no customizations at all or only preset customizations for men's players were all lumped in as "no." That being said, if it weren't for the NWSL, whose teams are mostly decoupled from men's teams, this graphic would show a larger majority not offering this service.
In particular, this seems egregious for very popular teams that have the capacity to offer preset customizations for even academy and loan players from their men's teams, and yet their women's team players are entirely unavailable or require a more expensive personalization.
3a) If the women's team shirt is different from the men's team shirt at a club, is it available with the correct sponsors and badges? b) Is it available in straight/unisex fit?
Most clubs that have a women's and men's team associated with them use nearly identical kits. However, when there are adjustments to the kit, fans may want to highlight their support of the women's team and players by getting the replica of the WoSo team.
Also, and I know this shouldn't have to be written in 2021, but here we are:
Women's team kits should not be available only in fitted (women's) sizes.
Of the teams that have a variation in shirt, 38% have options to purchase that variation including the appropriate league badges. Of the 25 teams that have a variation, or do not have a men's team attached, 11 have options to purchase straight/unisex fit kits. This is not enough, and hopefully, as time progresses these percentages will get closer to one hundred.
Overall, many top teams can do better in providing better availability of WoSo kits. Fans want to purchase and support them. Let us.