The Orlando Pride just had a jersey launch that was out-of-this-world. Literally.
The NWSL team — which includes soccer superstars Alex Morgan, Marta, Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger and Sydney Leroux as part of the roster — debuted their 2021 kits on Wednesday by revealing they blasted off a jersey into space.
Along with the jersey, the team and its presenting partner Orlando Health also sent a soccer ball into space, aiming to use the special ball to kick off their regular season in May.
The jersey is labeled the "Ad Astra" kit, which means "to the stars" in Latin. The phrase is an apt description as the kit pays tribute to the trailblazing women who helped NASA get to space but received none of the credit at the time.
The sleek new jersey is available for purchase at shoporlandopride.com.
Morgan, Marta, Harris and Krieger took part in an eye-popping shoot at the Kennedy Space Center, the historic site of some of the most iconic space launches that's only a few hours from the team's stadium in Orlando.
The foursome wore special jerseys to pay tribute to trailblazing women during the shoot.
Morgan's honored Nichelle Nichols, the groundbreaking Star Trek actress, while Marta, Harris and Krieger honored NASA's previously unsung heroes Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson. The three, profiled in the movie Hidden Figures, were mathematicians and so-called "human computers" who broke gender and race barriers while calculating the path to help make John Glenn become the first American to orbit Earth.
The whole design of the jerseys keeps these women, and the team's goal, at the forefront.
"It's really just paying tribute to the women who've broke all these barriers, who are trailblazers at this point, who've inspired an entire generation of women to do these incredible things that, maybe a long time ago, they thought men only were in these roles," Harris, 35, told PEOPLE of the design. "I think the whole entire platform of what Orlando, like Orlando City and Orlando Pride and Orlando Health, is doing, it's just been a really incredible nod at a lot of incredible women."
Harris also talked about the long-awaited interest the NWSL has seen recently, ever since the U.S. Women's National Team captured the country's attention on their way to their record-breaking fourth Women's World Cup in 2019. Since then, the NWSL has obtained more star-studded investors, and attention to the league, in its ninth season, has grown.
"I think women can surprise everyone. And if you invest in them, they are able to do incredible things," Harris said of the recent superstar investors like Natalie Portman and Naomi Osaka. "I want everyone to grow up understanding that they live in this equal platform, where if you work hard, and you do the right things, you become successful. And it's not based on if you're a man or a woman, or if you're a white, Black, brown. We're fighting so hard for just equality across all industries. That is important."
The Orlando Pride will compete in the NWSL's Challenge Cup beginning on April 9, a special tournament that divides the league's 10 teams into East vs. West with the top teams of each division playing for the cup at the end.
The Pride's first game will take place on April 14, when the team hosts Sky Blue FC at home.
The league will then head into a regular season on May 15 before the championship game takes place on Nov. 20.
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