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Pride swap white shorts for black as global push continues for player welfare

• Orlando is the latest to make the change to accommodate for menstruation
• National teams plan to limit use of white shorts at World Cup
• Subscribers: Log in to read about wide-reaching changes to NWSL Nike kits starting in 2024

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The Orlando Pride no longer plan to wear white shorts, a decision the club says is a first in the National Women’s Soccer League done intentionally in response to players’ concerns over competing during their period.

Orlando will wear black shorts with their white tops and white socks, replacing the all-white away kit that was released last year. The change will be made for all the club’s girls youth teams as well, including dark shorts for practice gear.

“Their worst nightmare of people being able to see that they are on their period is not going to happen with the black shorts,” Dr. Christine Greves, the team’s OB-GYN through its Orlando Health partnership, told The Equalizer.

Orlando’s decision adds to a global push among women’s athletes to eradicate Byzantine rules requiring white clothing. It also comes on the verge of the NWSL’s impending shift into a new era of its relationship with Nike that will loosen rules around white kits and enhance customization within the league.

“There is simply no sporting or competitive reason for white shorts,” NWSL Players Association executive director Meghann Burke told The Equalizer in a statement. “You’ve heard loud and clear from players why it’s so important for our sport and league to adopt this easy fix. I can recall this being an issue that my U12/13 teams talked about as a kid, so it’s not a ‘new’ issue by any stretch. I’m just glad to see common sense can finally prevail on this issue.”

Last year, Manchester City became the first English top-flight women’s team to get rid of white shorts following players’ concerns about competing during their periods. During their march to a European title last July, England women’s national team players voiced their desire to amend the country’s classic all-white kit.

Those conversations came after women’s tennis players once again pushed back at Wimbledon’s longstanding all-white dress code, eventually leading tournament organizers to allow for colored underwear to be worn under white clothing beginning in 2023.

As each of those scenarios played out, the Orlando Pride organization took notice. Players raised the idea of amending their all-white kit, leading to some “eye-opening” conversations within the club, chief marketing officer Pedro Franklin de Araujo said. From there, a collective process ensued among players, technical staff, soccer operations staff and the business side.

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