Nike bows to fans’ demands with sale of Matildas goalkeeping shirts

Nike has promised to make Matildas goalkeeper shirts available for future major tournaments after accepting that this “did not serve the fans” who wanted to get their hands on an official Mackenzie Arnold shirt at the Women’s World Cup.

The next Matildas tournament, if they qualify, would be the 2024 Olympics in Paris, starting in July.

Arnold became a new sensation in Australia after saving four penalties in the quarter-final against France, which the Matildas won 7–6.

However, many Australian fans were disappointed to realize they could not purchase replicas of Arnold’s jersey, with some clothing stores choosing to design their own tribute to the goalkeeper as a “brick wall”.

The issue was also highlighted by England goalkeeper Mary Earps, who said before the tournament that she was angry that fans could not buy her England shirt.

“It’s something I’ve been fighting behind closed doors,” Earps told the Guardian at the time. “I’ve tried to go through the right channels as much as possible… I’ve been desperately trying to find a solution with the FA and with Nike.

“Unfortunately, it has become very clear that this is not possible and that there will be no acceptable solution for the young children out there. On a personal level, it is extremely painful, especially considering the past twelve months. There has been an incredible increase in goalkeeper participation.”

As calls for Nike to sell Earps and other goalkeeper shirts grew during the tournament, the company announced it would sell “limited” goalkeeper shirts for England, the US, France and the Netherlands, but Australia was not included.

On the same day that Football Australia and Nike extended their partnership for a further 10 years, Nike said it would support the Matildas goalkeeper and make jerseys available for future major tournaments.

Nike Pacific vice president and general manager Ashley Reade said jersey sales during the World Cup exceeded the company’s expectations.

“We recognize that we did not serve those fans during the tournament who wanted to show their support for the team’s goalkeepers and are committed to and working with Football Australia to ensure we sell women’s goalkeeper shirts for major tournaments in the future. Reade said.

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“Before this tournament, we had planned accordingly for the Matildas to go deep and (the) Aussies more than met our expectations, with record jersey sales exceeding 2019 figures by 19 times.

“Along with the nation, all of us at Nike remain inspired by the Matildas and work hard to provide fans with the biggest and best team collections.”

The Matildas are aiming to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as their next major tournament, but Nike has not indicated when their goalkeeper jerseys would be available for purchase.

Matildas match shirts have been sold out nationwide since the World Cup and it is not clear when they will be back in stock.

The Matildas will play two friendlies in Canada on December 2 and 6 before their final round of Olympic qualifying against Uzbekistan in February.