Anyone watching Sweden’s national women’s team play this week should take a close look at the back of the players’ shirts.
You won’t see the footballers’ names — but you could find something that inspires you.
With the aim of motivating women to think about greater things, the team has ditched its traditional logos in favor of messages of empowerment.
The players chose tweets from well-known Swedish women, such as singer Zara Larsson, to be put where their surnames would normally appear.
The team, which won silver at the Rio 2016 Olympics, released the shirts this week as it competes at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.
‘The power in togetherness’
Sweden’s Football Association said it hopes the initiative — titled #InYourName — would “inspire and motivate other women to stand up for each other and themselves — and to show that nothing is impossible.”
Captain Lotta Schelin said: “Through #InYourName and together with other women, we want to express this message and encourage women to believe that they can do anything they set their mind to, and that they can also do so through teamwork.”
Schelin wears a message from politician Gudrun Schyman, founder of the Feminist Initiative party, which says: “Never look down on someone unless you’re helping her up.”
A tweet from singer Larsson saying “Believe in your damn self” is worn by Lisa Dahlkvist, while fellow midfielder Olivia Schough’s shirt bears a message which reads: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”
Sweden won its opening game at the invitational competition, with Schelin scoring the only goal against Olympic quarterfinalist Australia on Wednesday. The tournament concludes on March 8 — International Women’s Day.
Now ranked eighth in the world, Sweden was a surprise finalist at Rio 2016, where it lost 2-1 to Germany in the gold medal match.
Swedish FA communications director Niklas Bodell said the team’s success — which included a penalty shootout win over defending champion the United States — was a good example of “the power in togetherness.”
“We also hope to inspire people to stand up for each other and for themselves, no matter who you are or where you come from,” he added.
Sisters in arms
The Algarve tournament is running at the same time as the SheBelieves Cup.
In its second year, the four-nation invitational event was conceived by US national team players in order to inspire new generations of young girls and women “to be better and strive for better.”
In Wednesday’s opening round in Pennsylvania, the US beat Germany 1-0 and France defeated England 2-1. The second and third round of games are in New Jersey on Saturday and Washington DC on Tuesday.