Nike's decision not to produce any women's goalkeeper jerseys for retail has come back to haunt them, with Matildas fans left up in arms that they can't buy Mackenzie Arnold's kit. Arnold became a national hero on Saturday night when she made three incredible saves in the penalty shootout that sent the Matildas into the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup for the first time.
Arnold's heroics sparked a flood of queries from Matildas fans about how to buy the goalkeeper's jersey for themselves. However they've been left sorely disappointed after coming to the realisation that Nike doesn't manufacture them.
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Fans can buy the goalkeeper jerseys of a number of top men's team - including the England and Argentina national teams, and a number of Premier League teams. However Nike doesn't produce any women's goalkeeper jerseys for retail.
The farcical situation was thrust back into the spotlight this week after Arnold's incredible performance against France. Hoards of angry Matildas fans took to social media to question why every other players' jersey can be bought online except the goalkeeper's.
"It would be really cool to see kids – or anyone, really – with the goalkeeper jersey on," Arnold said during a press conference on Tuesday. "Especially seeing how well goalkeepers have done throughout this whole tournament.
"In terms of why they don't sell them, I'm not too sure. I haven't looked too much into it, to be honest – I've been more focused on the World Cup."
Nike responds to backlash over women's goalkeeper jerseys
An online petition calling on Nike and Adidas to produce the women's goalkeeper jerseys has garnered around 40,000 signatures, sparking a response from Nike. "We hear and understand the desire for a retail version of goalkeeper jerseys, and this is something we will certainly take into consideration for future tournaments in partnership with FIFA and the federations," a spokesperson said. "The fact that there's a conversation on this topic is testament to the continued passion and energy around the women's game and we believe that's encouraging."
Football Australia also responded to the furore, saying: "We recognise the importance of voicing opinions in support of our female athletes, and we are listening. The fact we are even having these conversations is testament to the progress in this game and for this team."
Speaking about the situation before the World Cup, England keeper Mary Earps said: “Unfortunately, it has become very evident that is not possible and there is not going to be an acceptable solution for the young kids out there.
“On a personal level, it is hugely hurtful considering the last 12 months (after England won the European Championships) especially. There has been an incredible rise in goalkeeping participation. I think that it is a huge problem, and…a scary message that is being sent to goalkeepers worldwide that you’re not important.”
If your going to promote the awesome @Matildas keeper Mackenzie Arnold, the least you could do is sell her jersey. A great gift for inspiring the next generation . Go on, #JustDoIt #KeeperJersey https://t.co/qRrWQPPWo8
— Jeremy Mansfield OAM 🌏 (@JezMans) August 15, 2023
— Sam Rosenbaum (@sammskiii) August 13, 2023
— Carly Telford (@carlytelford1) August 7, 2023
— Robyn Evans (@jailbirdstreet) August 15, 2023
Oi @Nike let us buy Mackenzie Arnold jerseys, you'll sell out in 5 mins
— Callum (@CallumAitken14) August 12, 2023
Royal commission into why I can’t buy Mackenzie Arnold’s jersey
— Oattus (@PattusM) August 12, 2023
i second this. i want a Mackenzie Arnold jersey. https://t.co/APaJpkwIco
— Nic Bea ☘️🐝 (@atwanderlast) August 14, 2023
Sell me a Mackenzie Arnold jersey you cowards @nikefootball !
— Geoff Matheson (@geoffmatho) August 12, 2023
Absolutely disgusting my daughter is a wannabe goalkeeper and has a pair of @ZeciraMusovic gloves that she kindly gave to her last season. She'd absolutely love a goalkeeper top with Musovic, Eurps or Hampton on it. Not everyone wants to play outfield!!!!
— simon kingman ⭐⭐ (@KingmanSimon) August 7, 2023
Matildas and England in blockbuster World Cup semi-final
One fan who will be wearing a Matildas goalkeeper jersey on Wednesday night when the Matildas take on England is Teagan Micah's mother. The Matildas' back-up keeper has given her family a number of her game-worn jerseys to wear.
"It's a bit disappointing," Micah's mother Yvonne told the ABC. "I think it almost makes the [goalkeeper] position like they're not as cool as a Sam Kerr shirt or something.
"Kids want to buy them. Adults want to buy them. We get asked, when we're wearing them to the game, 'Now where did you get it? Where can I get one?' But, unfortunately, they're not sold anywhere."
The groundswell of support for the women's keeper jerseys to be available for purchase will surely spark a change from Nike and other manufacturers. And fans will probably have Arnold to thank.
The Matildas hero will be back in goals when the Matildas take on England in a blockbuster semi-final at 8pm on Wednesday night. The winner will take on Spain in Sunday night's final after they beat Sweden 2-1 in the other semi on Tuesday night.
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