For their latest venture in uplifting athletes, Nike announced a NIL deal with with UCLA sophomore soccer player, Reilyn Turner. This is a historic partnership marking the company’s first ever name, image, and likeness sponsorship with a collegiate athlete.
Reilyn Turner is a LA native and absolute all-star on the field. Turner serves as a sophomore forward on UCLA’s women’s soccer team and was awarded Pac-12’s Freshman of the Year in 2020. Turner continues to grow as she remains a top scorer for the Bruins and finished this season with 10 goals. Three of those goals successfully landed her a hat trick back in September, which she happened to pull off within only 36 minutes of the game. More than just her athletic ability, Turner is passionate about giving back to the community.
“As a Black woman and Mexican American, I think about those who have paved the way for me and how they used their platforms to create so much change, even beyond sport,” says Turner. “I hope to be a role model for those around me and those after me, and I’m so excited to be a part of what Nike is bringing to the future of women’s sport.”
The official terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it seems that Nike’s vision for their sponsored college athletes is more than just having access to sportswear, but rather to be an active champion for community partners. The official announcement further explains saying, “Nike’s agreements with college student athletes in the United States will include an element that connects back to their local communities. Because the impact of sport goes beyond competition and success — it’s also about the changes you can make to give everyone an opportunity for a more level playing field.”
Turner’s commitment to Nike also aligns with UCLA’s recent switch from Under Armour to Nike, as the university entered a six-year sponsorship agreement back in July 2020. Since then, Jordan Brand has outfitted the football and basketball teams, while Nike is outfitting the school’s remaining athletics, including soccer.
Furthermore, Turner’s Nike sponsorship is reflective of the changing college athlete landscape. The NCAA’s new NIL guidelines went into effect on July 1, 2021, allowing for former developing sponsorship deals to be signed by college athletes. So far athletes like UConn’s Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd have been some of the first to sign major NIL deals. Bueckers signed a multiyear partnership with StockX. Meanwhile, Fudd committed to a multiyear deal with Stephen Curry’s SC30 Inc. that also puts her in place to work with his affiliated brand partners, investment vehicles, and media production company.
Reilyn Turner’s NIL deal with Nike is one of the many opportunities that soccer has opened up for her. She’s excited to work with the iconic brand and give back as she explains, “Whether it’s the community you grow up with or the community you grow into, there’s so much positive impact that can come from how they influence you and how you influence them.”