Pepsi MAX has launched the first episode of its new ‘Icons Unlocked’ YouTube series starring three national football players ahead of the start of the UEFA Women’s EURO tournament next month. From their first football memories to finally getting the respect and visibility the sport deserves, soccer stars Leah Williamson, Nikita Parris and Millie Bright open up about their lives on and off pitch.
The players sat down with leading women’s football influencer Elz the Witch to give football fans a glimpse into their personal journey to represent their country at the highest level.
Discussing their routes to professionals, the three football stars reflect growing up with a lack of female peers within the sport; Williamson having had to play for the boys Sunday League team, and Parris alongside her brothers. Parris also touches on feeling a responsibility to be an inspiration to young, female BAME players in an effort to diversify women’s football.
The inaugural episode covers a range of challenging topics, including their childhoods, where a career in football seemed only a pipedream; their role in the growth of women’s football; and their positions as role models for the next generation of footballers. The icons also let their personalities shine as they get stuck into playful quizzes on their most liked social media posts and most used emojis.
Leah Williamson, captain and midfielder for the England national football team, said: “If anyone said that they saw the rise of women’s football coming, they’re lying. The recent boost in popularity of the sport has been monumental to witness and an honour to be a part of. The Pepsi MAX ‘Icons Unlocked’ series, has provided a great platform for Nikita, Millie and I to show our personalities off the pitch, not only as football players but people whose hard work is finally paying off. We hope that through this web series we can inspire more aspiring football players to make their dreams come true too.”
The new content series from Pepsi MAX continues PepsiCo’s commitment to accelerating the future of women’s football through its ongoing sponsorship of the UEFA Women’s EURO which was announced in 2020. PepsiCo’s work in nurturing and supporting women’s football through ‘Icons Unlocked’ follows a range of global initiatives and complements the brands’ ongoing partnership with UEFA on its wider women’s initiatives and tournaments. This includes the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the UEFA Women’s EURO, the UEFA Women’s Under-19 and Under-17 Championships, and the UEFA Women’s Futsal EURO, as well as UEFA’s Together #WePlayStrong program, which is aimed at encouraging more girls and women to play football.