'Bunny' Shaw scores with Nike

Reggae Girlz striker revels in deal with iconic brand; finds herself in elite company

Observer staff reporter

Sunday, April 21, 2019

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A new sponsorship deal with major sportswear and apparel company Nike saw Khadija “Bunny” Shaw achieving yet another first in her budding career.

The prolific Reggae Girlz striker recently signed with the world's largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel for the next two years, making her the first female player from Jamaica and by extension the Caribbean to ink such a deal.

Shaw's signing, which took place at the company's headquarter near Beaverton, Oregon, in the Portland metropolitan area, saw her joining a top-class line of Nike-sponsored athletes in various sports, who use their products to promote and advertise their technology and design.

And as expected, she is thrilled about being listed among the likes of American athlete Allyson Felix, Brazilian football star Ronaldinho, basketball player Michael Jordan and other sporting greats sponsored by the sports brand giant.

“It is a great feeling, you dream about moments like this and for me to have a deal with such a successful brand just makes it even more satisfying,” Shaw told the Jamaica Observer recently.

This achievement for Shaw comes a few months after she signed with the respected A&V Sports agency in preparation for a transition to the professional level. She is expected to make her professional debut this summer in Europe or Asia.

The standout forward for the Reggae Girlz and one of the most exciting prospects in women's football this year stressed the need for hard work and commitment in one's endeavours, as she has worked assiduously to arrive at this point in her career.

Shaw, 22, believes the new Nike deal will add impetus to her stellar performances going forward, as she aims to and has already started to build on the momentum from last year's historic qualification to the Fifa Women's World Cup.

“It shows that the hard work is paying off because it takes hard work to do what you do to the best of your ability and for me, I had an amazing year last year and this just adds to it. So this is even better for me because I would have the proper footwear and gear to be comfortable and perform at my best going forward,” the University of Tennessee striker noted.

Having reaped tremendous success with her physicality and quickness in reading the game, the towering player is also expected to be on the radar as one of the most exciting young players to watch at the Fifa Women's World Cup in France, scheduled for June 7 to July 7.

Shaw along with her 53rd-ranked Reggae Girlz team will be the first from the Caribbean to make an appearance at the global showpiece.

“I mean the World Cup is just another tournament that I'll take a game and a day at a time. It's huge for our country and I am sure the team is very excited. It's a chance for me to show my talent, while having fun doing that.

“We have been growing in confidence and I know when we get to France we are going to do our very best to make our coaches, family and Jamaica proud,” she reasoned.

Finally, the recent Guardian Footballer of the Year, who used football as a vehicle to overcome violence and tragedy in her life, pointed out that all her current accomplishments so far is a build up to an ultimate goal of giving back to football in Jamaica.

“Jamaica is the land of my birth. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly, so for me to put myself in the position to give back to my roots through football, it is something I'll do over and over again to inspire those young players who will come after me,” declared Shaw, who represented Jamaica at every level starting with stints in the Under-15, Under-17 and Under-20, all at the same time, when she was just 14 years old.

Meanwhile, Shaw's agent, Alan Naigeon, A&V Sports managing partner, concurred, as he revealed that more deals are set to follow the Nike signing.

“We do hope that this will be another key moment for the development of women's football in the Caribbean and of course, the common goal in the future is to find a way to give back to the Jamaican community, so overall it is just promising,” Naigeon told the Observer.

He continued: “Khadija is so proud to be working with Nike and follow the path of the most famous Nike athletes. There are other promises coming up, including one with Coco Cola, so I think Nike is just a kick-starter for other agreements coming up.

“I think Khadija has been working tirelessly the past few weeks to arrive at the World Cup in the best shape of her life and this is an opportunity for Nike to have an athlete in their portfolio that might stun the world like they have had before and for us, it is just great to know that Khadija is going to receive the support of Nike.”

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