Soccer player

Nike’s first varsity signatory is a UCLA soccer player with little social media following, but she’s a superstar in LA

Reilyn Turner, sophomore from UCLA.Katharine Lotze / Getty Images

  • Nike recruited Reilyn Turner of UCLA women’s football as the brand’s first college athlete.

  • Unlike most NIL signers, the Bruins second-year forward doesn’t have huge social media success.

  • Instead, Nike is focusing on the appeal of the local Los Angeles market by signing the LA native.

Nike signed its very first NCAA athlete – and she’s not the one most people expected the big sportswear brand to pick for their first foray into college football.

With renowned college football quarterbacks, future NBA stars, and athletes with numerous social media followers ripe for the picking, Nike instead called on UCLA women’s football player Reilyn. Turner.

Reilyn Turner.


Although the second-year forward has become a constant threat to the Bruins, she is yet to be considered one of the stars of women’s college football; she wasn’t even one of the 59 players named to the watchlist for the 2021 MAC Hermann Trophy – the highest individual honor in NCAA football. And just before she and Nike announced their partnership, the 19-year-old had just over 3,000 followers on Instagram and 157 others on Twitter.

So why Turner?

“His skills on the pitch are matched only by his passion for giving back the pitch,” Nike said in output. “Turner recognizes the doors that football has opened for her, and she wants to give those same opportunities to girls and boys in the region, helping them to get active, pursue their dreams and reach their highest potential.”

Reilyn Turner.


“This is also Nike’s mission,” continued the brand. “As part of Turner’s sponsorship, Nike and Turner will team up to work with community partners based in Los Angeles.”

Originally from Southern California, Turner has been a figure in the LA football scene since she was first able to kick a ball. She became one of the best players in the state playing for Orange County-based youth club So Cal Blues. She later made her debut on the nation’s top-ranked rookie list as the recipient of All-America and All-California Interscholastic Federation honors at Laguna Beach High School.

Reilyn Turner.

Turner (right) was a star at Laguna Beach High School.Leonard Ortiz / Digital First Media / Orange County Register via Getty Images

Turner knew she wanted to bring her talents to UCLA since the age of 8, when she attended a Bruins football camp and fell in love with the Westwood campus. Now that she’s here – and that she’s an aspiring star – Turner is a natural fit to help Nike expand its reach in the City of Angels.

“As a black and American woman of Mexican descent, I think of those who paved the way for me and how they have used their platforms to create so much change, even beyond sport,” said Turner via the Nike press release. “I hope to be a role model for those around me and those after me.”

“I am so excited to be a part of what Nike brings to the future of women’s sport.”

Read the original article on Initiated