Concussions important issue for girl athletes-updated info here

There have been many articles and efforts to improve safety on the soccer field for women and girls.  As an update to our posts of six years ago, I provide new information on prevention and training alternatives from Cindy Parlow Cone and Excelle.com

Our original articles are here:

Don’t be fooled by common misconceptions about concussions.

A great article on concussions from Taylor Twellman.

Recovering from a Climbing Concussion

and new information can be found here:

Pro players speak out about the ‘absurdity’ of the concussion protocol in women’s soccer

Check out these excellent video on the what Cindy Parlow Cone’s experience learning to head the ball at 18 -and still being a World Cup Champ and Olympian!

http://bit.ly/2t0FV3P

http://bit.ly/2u5o9MP

 

Happy Birthday Cindy Parlow Cone

Happy birthday to Cindy Parlow Cone, three-time NCAA Women’s Soccer Champion and founding member of the Women’s United Soccer Association, former head coach for Portland Thorns FC and in her first year as coach in her first year as head coach of the Portland Thorns, led the Thorns to the NWSL Championship. Parlow was a member of the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic, and 1999 and 2003 Women’s World Cup, teams. Parlow Cone played professionally for the Atlanta Beat for three years and was the Coaching Director of 13-18 year-old girls’ programs at the Triangle United soccer league.  Cindy is a co-founder of Goals for Girls.  Birthday –May 8th.

Last Firsts from a Soccer Mom.

It is that time of year for parents of high school seniors when we’re enjoying the last -firsts of many club and high school events.  Last first soccer game of the year, last first day of the last semester, last club night.   Looking back at all the things I’ve learned, I’ve decided (rather than wallow),  I’d share a few of the most useful lessons.  From the importance of chocolate milk to the recruiting process.  Make sure to catch next few blogs.  I’d love to hear your stories and tips too!

Here’s to team Glow Angel -where it all started, and to the coaches, parents and friends I’ve made on the fields.

xo

MaryAnne

The “why” of Dragonwing girlgear.

kickstart_bannerPeople often ask me why I am so passionate about sports and girls and I have a simple, important reason – we need this generation of girls, now more than ever, to reach their potential.  Sports participation at any level is one path to actualizing potential –it is established and proven – we don’t need to create a new program or study its benefits.  But social expectations and social media are getting in the way of girls.  When I realized “the underwear experience” could have an impact, I had an aha moment that I could do something about it.

Let’s take Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid.  On one level of the pyramid is community or village – we all know and accept that it takes a village to grow a strong confident girl.  We are happier with friends, family, a team, a tribe.  Belonging is important.   Connections give life meaning (Brene Brown).  Sports provide a natural community.

The next level of the pyramid is self-esteem.  Sports build self-esteem in so many ways, such as setting and achieving goals, graciously winning, building resilience, pushing your comfort zone for what you think you can do and then exceeding it – just to name a few. For more on this, check out this TedEx talk by Alisa Herr.

Unfortunately, feelings about breast development are a top reason girls drop out of sports.  According to a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, “three quarters of school-aged girls report breast-related concerns regarding exercise and sports.”   75%!!!  That’s just not acceptable.  Starting and normalizing conversation about body changes can improve this.  Sports programs frequently recommend protective gear for boys, like cups, or compression shorts, but there is no comparable list recommended for girls. At Dragonwing girlgear, we provide girls that list and more.

Having an excellent-fitting, high-performance sports top – whether it is a bra, cami or thermal tee-shirt, that is designed especially for the athletic girl’s figure, can eliminate worries about underwear malfunction.  Embarrassment about changing bodies can alleviate concerns about body image.  At Dragonwing, we strive to free up emotional energy– so girls can focus on their game – and everything else they want to achieve… because when girls are confident, the possibilities are endless.

 

 

 

Donate a Sports Bra & Help Keep a Girl in the Game

Donate Girl's Sports Bra & Help Girl Stay in the Game

 

A sports bra can mean the difference between a girl sitting on the sidelines and being able to play. Without the proper coverage, fit, and support of a sports bra, girls are often too self-conscious or uncomfortable being physically active, so they miss out on the many life- and skill-building benefits – and fun – that sports and athletic activity convey. As a parent, I know that a great sports bra can help give my daughter the opportunity to play her best.

This is especially true for girls in the developing world. That’s why we’ve partnered with our good friends at Goals for Girls to bring sports bras to teen girls in India. Goals for Girls connects girls from different countries and backgrounds with their peers around the world to address social and health challenges through cultural exchange, service, and soccer. Earlier this year, I saw the power of these exchanges when the U15 Women’s National Soccer Team from Jordan visited North Carolina.

“Sports bras are our most-needed item,” says Cindy Parlow Cone, soccer superstar, coach, and Dragonwing spokesperson. As part of Goals for Girls, she’s leading a team of US teen girl soccer players to India in January for a ten-day cultural exchange, including lots of soccer playing.

We’re hoping to send Cindy and the US Goals for Girls delegation to India with a suitcase full of sports bras, generously donated by the Dragonwing girlgear community.

To help, please donate a clean, gently-used sports bra (any size, brand, or color) to:

Goals for Girls/Dragonwing
510 Meadowmont Village Circle, #188
Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Include your name and email address in the package with the donated bra(s). As a token of our thanks, we’ll send you a promo code good for $5 off your next Dragonwing purchase.

Thank you for helping empower girls in sports & in life!

 

Girls Rule: Sports Bra Anniversary

The sports bra will mark an anniversary of sorts on Thursday, July 10: 15 years after 20-year-old Brandi Chastain pulled off her jersey in celebration of her winning goal in the Women’s World Cup and fell to her knees wearing her (plain black) sports bra and shorts.

Brandi Chastain goal in 1999 Women's World Cup brought Sports bra public

Sports bras came into the public after that and today come in many styles and colors.

According to a history of the sports bra by Ladies Only Sports — a fascinating read — the first sports bra “prototype” was two jock straps sewn together. It’s no stretch to say that the sports bra revolutionized women’s sports, making it possible for women to play active sports without breast discomfort or injury. That’s been great for women, but until recently, girls (pre-teens and teens) had been left behind – that’s where Dragonwing girlgear comes in.

Despite the huge increase in girls’ sports, no one was making quality sports bras designed to fit girls’ bodies. Most young girls whose bodies are just beginning to developing have to wear multiple camisoles or t-shirts. Older girls are forced to look for small sizes in the women’s section.

Enter Dragonwing girlgear, maker of athletic apparel — sports bras, compression shorts, and sports camis — designed just to fit tween and teen girls, ages 8-17. Our sports bras and camis are designed for girls at all stages of development.

Racer sports bra for teen, tween girl

Dragonwing products differ from others on the market in that they’re made of high-quality fabrics that are meant for real athletes — moisture-wicking, seamless and tag-free to prevent chafing — and designed for movement without riding up.

Dragonwing girlgear sports bras give girls the fit, comfort, and performance needed to play their best, whether celebrating a game-winning goal, playing on a hot summer day, or changing jerseys on the sideline.

Keyhole sports bra for tween, teen, girl

5 Reasons Why Soccer Matters in the US

The US Men’s World Cup run may be over, but that doesn’t mean soccer will fall off the sports radar screen here in the US. Taking a contrary view to a recent Wall St. Journal piece on the inevitable US “soccer letdown” and even to the more hopeful Freakonomics podcast, here are 5 reasons why soccer will grow in popularity in the US:

1. Soccer is a global sport. Who better to embrace it than the US, a nation of immigrants and multinational individuals. We can cheer not only for our national team but those of our homelands, in my case, Italy. Or we can — and do — cheer for the teams of our temporarily adopted homes, places where we’ve lived briefly or for many years. If Hong Kong had a national team, I’d be a supporter, since I lived much of my early adult years there and it’s my children’s birthplace.

2. Soccer is intense, captivating, and exciting. Those who say it’s too slow or boring to be popular here don’t know what they’re talking about. You want excitement? How about Tim Howard’s amazing 16 saves. The final two minutes of a soccer game can be more intense than the 9th inning with two outs and the bases loaded. Take it from a lifelong Red Sox fan, what happens in the 9th inning can change the course of history. (As an aside, a 2010 Wall St. Journal study found that the average NFL game has a meager 11 minutes of action)

3. While there will always be individual star players, soccer is a team sport. No single player can carry a team for 90 minutes every game, and it’d be tough to build a franchise around a single player. The best teams depend on every player, not on a key player.

4. Some naysayers point to the “flops” as evidence that soccer players are too soft or that the game is not tough enough. Soft?! The level of conditioning necessary to run almost continuously for a full game is astounding. The precision, timing, and agility needed to play soccer are remarkable.

5. While the current World Cup is for men’s teams, let’s not forget the success of US women’s soccer. The US Women’s Team has won two World Cups — yes, 2! Players like Mia Hamm, Cindy Parlow Cone (who’s also Dragonwing girlgear‘s spokesperson) , Abby Wambach, Heather O’Reilly, Alex Morgan, and Brandi Chastain are role models for girls at all levels. Attendance at women’s professional soccer league games is solid and growing, with sell-out crowds a regular occurrence for many teams.

 

 

Getting Girls Off the Sidelines & Into the Game

With much of the world’s eyes and screens tuned in to the World Cup, Wall St. Journal reporter Patricia Kowsmann wrote powerfully about how girls in Brazil are often left on the soccer sidelines.

Her personal story of being bullied as a young girl for wearing boys’ soccer cleats really hit home for me. It touched at the core of why I started Dragonwing girlgear.

The sad truth is that, for most girls who play sports, the only high quality clothing — that wicks moisture and doesn’t chafe — is found in the boys’ section. Or the women’s section where sports bras don’t fit girls.

All too often, girls are forced to choose between the right gear for their sport OR lower-quality apparel — like a cotton bralette — that isn’t designed for playing sports.

Girls who play sports aren’t “tomboys;” they’re athletes and deserve to have comfortable, supportive clothing — sports camis, compression shorts, and sports bras — that helps girls play their best. That’s what we do every day at Dragonwing girlgear.

 

 

 

Are you ready for Spring Soccer Season

It’s mid February and the soccer club teams in North Carolina are gearing up for the spring season. Emails from coaches and team managers are starting again.

It’s time to organize.

Parents are going through soccer bags, looking at cleats, shin guards, practice t-shirts, and all the other items that will be worn. What still fits? What has been outgrown? Cold temperatures are still present. Does my daughter need another good item for layering? Wicking tops such as those available at Target or Khols provide a low cost solution – however, I am willing to spend a little more for better fit, comfort and performance after the multiple washes the top will undergo – so, I’m having my daughter try out the Chill Weight Long Sleeve Tee from Dragonwing girl gear. Okay, gear is accounted for a list made of new items to purchase.

Onto the next item – update the family calendar that is found on our refrigerator to remind us all where to be when.

Questions start with – when are practices, games and tournaments? Emails are probably received at least several times a week, roughly 2-3 times. The first one is typically a schedule for the week that consists of reminding the team what day of the week regular practice will be held and at what time and at what location. The next communication may be an update to any changes due to weather – say it rains and, at least in North Carolina, unless you are practicing on turf, rain often results in practice cancelations – the dense-clay-like soil can only absorb so much. And, then if there is a weekend game, a reminder email outlining day, time and location of game with specific instructions about getting to the field at least 30-45 minutes ahead of time.

Highly organized team managers tend to be the most effective with timely communications and incredible with follow up. I have always found that I have become very dependent on them – unless they tell me exactly when, where and what time – I’m scrambling.
Pressure on a team manager? – perhaps or rather, yes.

What tools exist to help team managers keep their team’s a well-oiled machine? Yes.

Many team managers may have their own approach; a system they have used based on previous management experience, relying on what’s worked and what has not. There are also online tools that help managers with centralization of information that includes a calendar of events, a way to send our automated emails to team members/parents – and a good example of such a tool is TeamSnap.com – an online tool to manage teams and/or groups. Features include creating team homepage, having a centralized location for contacts and a shared calendar. Start with a free subscription to figure out if it’s right for you.

I look forward to hearing how you start organizing for the new season – and if you have used any online tools that are particularly remarkable and why.

Good luck to all your teams this season.