Goal Five - Soccer Apparel Designed for Girls
Two years ago, when the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the World Cup, Keely Wachs’ young sons had one question: why did the women make less than the men?
His sons, who are avid soccer players and die-hard UWNST fans, didn’t understand how the women’s team, who was ranked No. 1 in the world, could be paid less than their male counterparts.
This question sparked Wachs to explore the other ways women in soccer were treated differently. It didn’t take long to find and before Wachs knew it he was starting his own soccer apparel line for women: Goal Five. “I quickly realized that there was no soccer apparel designed for women soccer players and it became clear to me that there was a market for that,” Wachs said.
The purpose of Goal Five is twofold. One, the soccer apparel is designed with the female soccer player in mind. Two, 5 percent of their proceeds go towards soccer organizations across the world to help girls have access to the sport.
As luck would have it, Wachs’ neighbor was Carrie Kessler, who has developed apparel products for Gap and Banana Republic. When Wachs first told Kessler about the idea, she was excited about the purpose behind Goal Five.
“When Keely approached me about this idea in my driveway, I could sense he had a lot of passion behind what he was saying,” Kessler said. “He said, “I want to start a movement” and that's how he approached it with me. He didn't come right out and say, “I want to start an apparel brand.” And that’s what got my attention.”
“We have been talking about mission from day one, and how we want it to permeate everything we do,” said Ann Kletz, who came on as a co-founder after Wachs approached her about the idea.
A lifelong soccer player, who played at Harvard University, and the mother of two daughters who play soccer, Kletz immediately saw the opportunity with Goal Five. However, she was more interested in the company’s desire to make soccer more accessible. “That was the most intriguing aspect," Kletz said.
To make sure the apparel had support, the team reached out to 150 girls who play soccer and asked for their input, “We sat down and asked them a series of questions and every single time when we asked them if they would be interested in an apparel line like Goal Five, they all said ‘yes’,” Wachs said.
Now, two years later after several prototypes, Goal Five has launched. They even had Julie Foudy, who played as a midfielder for the two-time winning women’s World Cup team in 1991 and 1999, and is an Olympic gold medalist, become an investor.
“Despite incredible growth, the women’s game still needs increased support,” Foudy said in a press release. “To close the gender gap, we all need to do more to support our female athletes. Goal Five is not only setting the standard by making world-class gear specifically for her but also pushing the movement for equality with their give back model."
The apparel is made with high end fabrics, and consists of nine core training pieces: tops, shorts, tights, over-the-calf socks, bra tops and a training jacket.
The favorite piece from collection though are the combo shin guard tights.
“We’re using the same quality material that Lululemon or Nike uses for their tights, but we’ve added a pocket so you can take the shin guards in and out,” Kessler said.
For Wachs, their other staple is the Foudy Crewneck Training top. “I love the leadership the idea that every player has the potential to be a leader. And it has a nod to that with the design on the arm,” he said.
“Fundamentally it’s designed for her,” said Lindsey Jones, a former professional soccer player and Executive VP at Goal Five. According to Jones, Goal Five takes the female soccer player seriously and avoided the “shrink it and pink it” method often used to appeal to girls and women.
“A lot of brands take the designs from men’s lines and just shrink it. That doesn’t work with women’s bodies,” Jones said.
The apparel line has wider openings in the leg, fabric that moves more seamlessly, and tops that fit a more athletic build. It’s the innovative aspects of Goal Five that has garnered the support from professional players like Lauren Barnes, of the Seattle Reign, Joanna Lohmann of Washington Spirit, and Kayla Mills of Sky Blue FC.
“When I wear this clothing I don’t have to worry about the shorts riding up because I know they fit, and because they’re designed for soccer players who generally have strong, muscular legs,” Mills said.
It’s these small specialized aspects of the clothing that the Goal Five team hopes resonates with the soccer world. More importantly, they hope people connect with the mission of Goal Five wanting to equalize soccer.
“We want to show the world that women’s and girls soccer matters,” Kessler said.
For more information on Goal Five and to support soccer worldwide through your purchase, visit www.GoalFive.com