US Women's Soccer Stars Highlight Risks of Heading

We applaud that three members of the 1999 World Cup championship US Women's Soccer team are speaking out on the risks of brain injury from heading. Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, and Cindy Parlow Cone -- who's a Dragonwing girlgear spokesperson -- have joined forces with the Sports Legacy Institute and the Santa Clara Institute of Sports Law to form Parents and Pros for Safer Soccer and are pushing for rules changes to prohibit heading by players under 14. In a recent New York Times article on the effort, Parlow Cone, who ended her playing career in part because of concussion-related headaches and fatigue, says, “Soccer might not be football, but we do know now that brain injuries in soccer is a huge issue, and is a very serious issue.... We need to do better for our kids.”

#SaferSoccer Priority for Parlow Cone

Knowing Cindy Parlow Cone as we do (she's a spokesperson for Dragonwing), it's hard to imagine a time when this former soccer superstar and tireless advocate for sports safety and girls empowerment had no desire to play and "basically went to sleep every chance had."

Cindy Parlow Cone: As adults we have a responsibility to make soccer safer."But that's the impact concussions, sustained during practices and games, had on her -- injuries that led to her retirement. And that's why she speaks regularly and passionately about the importance of concussion education and prevention, especially in youth sports.

Along with former US Women's National Team teammates Brandi Chastain and Joy Fawcett, Cindy is part of a campaign (#SaferSoccer) to educate parents and coaches on the risks of headers in soccer for girls and boys younger than 14.

Most recently, Cindy offered her story at a medical seminar organized by U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer as part of a coaches' conference on player health and safety.

According to an Associated Press story on the seminar, "Parlow Cone still deals with the symptoms of what she estimates were dozens of concussions she suffered through during her career….

'I went from a kid that just loved training, loved everything about soccer…to someone who kind of went into a shell…' "

As a girls' soccer coach today, Cindy doesn't even teach heading to her players. Instead she teaches them to bring the ball to the ground with other parts of their bodies. "As adults, we have a responsibility to ."

Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon

For the Dragonwing team, this video makes us emotional - especially when Jock Semple tries to pull her out. Kathrine's quote "all of a sudden this was very important ... nobody believes I can do this.. and if I don't finish, people will think all women can't." she finished in 4 hrs and 20 min. KV Switzer (and whoever wears #261 -how lucky are you!) You can watch the video here. Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon

Concussions important issue for girl athletes-updated info here

There have been many articles and efforts to improve safety on the soccer field for women and girls. As an update to our posts of six years ago, I provide new information on prevention and training alternatives from Cindy Parlow Cone and

Our original articles are here:

and new information can be found here:

Check out these excellent video on the what Cindy Parlow Cone's experience learning to head the ball at 18 -and still being a World Cup Champ and Olympian!

Happy Birthday Cindy Parlow Cone

Happy birthday to Cindy Parlow Cone, three-time NCAA Women's Soccer Champion and founding member of the Women's United Soccer Association, former head coach for Portland Thorns FC and in her first year as coach in her first year as head coach of the Portland Thorns, led the Thorns to the NWSL Championship. Parlow was a member of the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic, and 1999 and 2003 Women's World Cup, teams. Parlow Cone played professionally for the Atlanta Beat for three years and was the Coaching Director of 13-18 year-old girls' programs at the Triangle United soccer league. Cindy is a co-founder of Goals for Girls. Birthday --May 8th.

Black History Month: Celebrating Serena Williams!

Sharing stories about women athletes matters. Equally important, hearing stories of amazing women athletes matters. One of my favorite legends is Serena Williams. To celebrate Black History Month, the artist Simone Grace is creating a coloring book with portraits of 28 amazing black women and one of the world's greatest athletes, Serena Williams is featured. Simone is my friend and classmate -and when I asked her if we could share this page with our community of athletic girls and their parents, she generously and ecstatically agreed. You can get a free printable coloring page here! Check out all the illustrations of visionary black women who are luminaries in politics, arts, activism, business and sports. Coloring is a fun, empowering and relaxing activity for all the strong girls and women in your life and makes a great gift! You learn more about Simone Grace and how to get the entire printable coloring book at the GoFundMe page here. xoxo MaryAnne Founder of Dragonwing girlgear

Girls Rule: Sports Bra Anniversary

The sports bra will mark an anniversary of sorts on Thursday, July 10: 15 years after 20-year-old Brandi Chastain pulled off her jersey in celebration of her winning goal in the Women's World Cup and fell to her knees wearing her (plain black) sports bra and shorts. Brandi Chastain goal in 1999 Women's World Cup brought Sports bra public Sports bras came into the public after that and today come in many styles and colors. According to a history of the sports bra by Ladies Only Sports -- a fascinating read -- the first sports bra "prototype" was two jock straps sewn together. It's no stretch to say that the sports bra revolutionized women's sports, making it possible for women to play active sports without breast discomfort or injury. That's been great for women, but until recently, girls (pre-teens and teens) had been left behind - that's where Dragonwing girlgear comes in. Despite the huge increase in girls' sports, no one was making quality sports bras designed to fit girls' bodies. Most young girls whose bodies are just beginning to developing have to wear multiple camisoles or t-shirts. Older girls are forced to look for small sizes in the women's section. Enter Dragonwing girlgear, maker of athletic apparel -- sports bras, compression shorts, and sports camis -- designed just to fit tween and teen girls, ages 8-17. Our sports bras and camis are designed for girls at all stages of development. Racer sports bra for teen, tween girl Dragonwing products differ from others on the market in that they're made of high-quality fabrics that are meant for real athletes -- moisture-wicking, seamless and tag-free to prevent chafing -- and designed for movement without riding up. Dragonwing girlgear sports bras give girls the fit, comfort, and performance needed to play their best, whether celebrating a game-winning goal, playing on a hot summer day, or changing jerseys on the sideline. Keyhole sports bra for tween, teen, girl

December 2: Happy (Belated) Birthday, Monica Seles!

monica seles

Happy birthday to Monica Seles, the youngest player ever, at age 16, to win the French Open. She followed up that 1990 victory with French Open and U.S. Open wins in 1991 and 1992, in addition to 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1996 Australian Open wins. Besides those nine Grand Slam singles titles, she also won a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics. Seles career was halted when she was stabbed during an on-court attack, and though she returned to the game some years later, she was never able to fully regain her status. The stories of her successes and No. 1 ranking, however, live on.

January 24: Happy Birthday, Mary Lou Retton!

Happy birthday to Italian-American Mary Lou Retton, the first female gymnast from outside of Eastern Europe to win an Olympic gold medal in the all-around event (1984 Olympics). Besides four other Olympic medals- two silver and two bronze- Retton is also a two-time American Cup winner and a 1997 International Gymnastics Hall of Fame inductee.

May 8: Happy Birthday, Cindy Parlow!

Happy birthday to Cindy Parlow, three-time NCAA Women's Soccer Champion and founding member of the Women's United Soccer Association. Parlow was a member of the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic, and 1999 and 2003 Women's World Cup, teams. After playing professionally for the Atlanta Beat for three years, she became the Coaching Director of 13-18 year-old girls' programs at the Triangle United soccer league.

February 2012 Trunk Shows at OMEGA SPORTS

(Chapel Hill, NC; February 2, 2012)— Dragonwing girlgear ™ -- the first line of athletic sport and support wear designed for young sporty girls ages 8-17 -- announced today that North Carolina-based Omega Sports (an athletic apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment retailer) will host Trunk Shows at all 5 of the local retailer’s Triangle Stores (Park West, Crossroads Blvd, New Hope Commons, and North Hills Raleigh). Omega Sports is pleased to offer customers the opportunity to preview from the entire line of current and new Dragonwing girlgear ™ products at the events, which will also include: • Raffle Drawings and Giveaways including girlgear cinch bags • Meet and Greet at the North Hills and Crossroads store with Cindy Parlow Cone. Cindy was a 4-time All-American on the UNC women’s soccer team, which won three national championships during her playing career. She twice won the Hermann Trophy as the top female college player (1997and 1998) and was the ACC female athlete of the year in 1999. She was a starter on the US team which won the 1999 World Cup, scoring two goals. She was also a member of the World Cup team in 2003 and of the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic teams. She is currently director of girls U15-U18 soccer for Triangle United. • The chance to win lunch with Cindy Parlow and the Omega and Dragonwing staff (at the Q-Shack before the North Hills trunk show. No purchase necessary.) Created by Soccer Mom and entrepreneur MaryAnne Gucciardi, Dragonwing girlgear ™ is the first performance line designed exclusively for pre-teen and teen girls. With unique sizing, high-tech moisture-wicking fabrics, age appropriate support and comfortable fit, Dragonwing girlgear ™ camis, sliders and sports bras help girls play their very best -- whether they are on the soccer field, lacrosse field, basketball court, volleyball court , or other athletic venue. Thirty year old Omega Sports, Inc. has 16 locations throughout North Carolina and offers top notch service, highly trained staff, and personal attention. The stores sell year-round athletic apparel, footwear, equipment and accessories for the entire family. The Trunk Shows will run as follows: Date Time Location Feb 24 Friday 7:00 p.m. New Hope Commons 5426-B New Hope Commons Dr. Durham, NC 27707 919.493.7603 Feb 25 Saturday 10:00 a.m. Renaissance 8200 Renaissance Pkwy. Durham, NC 27713-6699 919.361.9060 Feb 25 Saturday 2:00 p.m. North Hills 4120 Main @ North Hills St. Raleigh, NC 27609 919.420.1913 Feb 26 Sunday 1:00 p.m. Park West 3025 Market Center Dr. Morrisville NC 919.338.3001 Feb 26 Sunday 4:00 p.m. Crossroads 314 Crossroads Blvd Cary, NC 27518 919.859.2623 RSVP in store or by phone # # # About the Dragonwing girlgear Founder/President: MaryAnne Gucciardi, Soccer mom and Entrepreneur, is on a mission to help girls become confident women! Contact her at About Omega Sports, Inc.: Phil Bowman and Thom Rock started Omega Sports in 1978 with a vision NOT to be a big box store. They wanted a family atmosphere with a tech trained staff. They have that today! For more information about Dragonwing girlgear or Omega Sports, Inc.: Omega Sports, Inc. Website Facebook: Twitter: @omegasportsnc YouTube: Our Dragonwing blog On Facebook: On Twitter: @DragonwingGirl On YouTube: For jpeg photography, interviews or other media inquiries, please contact: Laura Rossi Totten, or 401-487-2453

Olympic and World Cup Soccer Champion, Brandi Chastain, shares her inspirations and advice for young women.

Olympic and World Cup Soccer Champion, Brandi Chastain, shares her inspirations and advice for young women. Brandi Chastain Interview Also, check out this interview of players Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy & Brandi Chastain on women and sports.