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Former Liverpool and Manchester City Women player Grave Vella is changing the game for female footballers with her brand 'Miss Kick.'
Women's football has come a long way in recent years, with mainstream interest in the sport on the rise, and next season the Women's Super League will start its new £24 million tv deal on the BBC and Sky Sports.
However, there is still a long way to go, and not just when it comes to getting anything close to equal pay, which is often a controversial topic, but also just in how women are represented in the game.
Vella, who has swapped the dressing room for the board room, launched Miss Kick in 2018 because she felt women and girls wanting to get into the sport weren't being represented.
She launched Miss Kick in 2018, selling t-shirts at her dad's football tournament, after studied psychology at the University of Manchester following her release from City.
Whilst things started locally, she is now selling globally and bringing together a community online, not just because they're wearing the clothes.
"Our hoodies, t-shirts and headbands are all about empowering and inspiring the girls football community," she recently told the Daily Mail.
"It's more than just clothing, it's about how it makes the girls feel when they put that t-shirt on - I want them to feel like they're represented.
"Throughout lockdown we found that a lot of girls were reaching out to us on social media to say they felt isolated. We decided to create a WhatsApp group chat and this has now grown to over 650 girls from all over the world
"We've got girls in America, Australia, Canada, all coming together. Although it's centered around football and their passion for football it's turned into much more than that."
When it comes to opportunities in the game, Vella certainly knows what she's talking about, the 24-year-old was released by both her Super League teams before heading off to university.
The difference between a men's player and a women's player being released is the lack of professional levels below the top league. "There aren't that many tiers to go down (in the women's game) and I know a lot of girls who have been released and now don't play at all because there isn't that investment and structure in the lower leagues for them to keep playing and pursuing it as a career.
"A big challenge for us as women's players is that, unless you're playing in the WSL or sometimes the Championship, you have to have another job and that's such a big commitment and it is hard work to try and maintain your playing standards and have a job as well."
As well as her brand, she also runs the Miss Kick Foundation, which serves to give a percentage of the revenue from the brand into grass roots in the women's game.
To find out more about Miss Kick and check out the brand, go to www.misskick.com.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram @MissKick
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