Over the past 5 years, GSN – the Girls Soccer Network – has become a grassroots sensation, organically amassing 100K followers on social media, with young players and their parents flocking to the network.
Their audience is drawn by GSN’s empowering and inspiring message: this is a safe space on social media where girls can see that their goals are valid, achievable, and worthwhile.
Now, the network goes behind the scenes with Miss Kick FC, an up-close-and-personal look at one woman’s journey launching a new team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL).
Rather than deliver a typical team-follow documentary, GSN’s 8-minute film shows how deeply influential the game is to Grace Vella, the 25-year-old founder of the English women’s sportswear brand, Miss Kick, where 2.5% of every order goes to its Miss Kick Foundation, sponsoring opportunities for girls to get into sport. The doc was produced in-house at GSN, and edited by Julia Armine at Union. Watch below:
“Taking Miss Kick and building the club in the States was an absolute dream come true,” said Vella, who approached GSN Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Gruskoff with plans to launch a team in the US. “I was so excited for the incredible opportunity, but I needed some support to get our message heard. GSN and Jen were able to make that happen.” Once a player herself – for Liverpool, nonetheless – Vella could not get the game out of her system when her playing days ended. Instead of relying on nostalgia, she created a way to stay involved by filling a need.
“Grace saw the disparity of the game growing up, and wanted to be part of changing that,” said Gruskoff, who co-founded the network with Union Partner/Managing Director, Michael Raimondi. Their daughters played soccer together in middle and high school, and the founders wanted to offer a holistic view of the sport, committed to touting achievements in the game, while celebrating talents and accomplishments off the field.
Many of Girls Soccer Network’s most enthusiastic community members in the U.K. are fans or ambassadors of the Miss Kick brand. These girls, anywhere from 9-17, are what Gruskoff calls “baby influencers,” adding, “They are passionate about our communities and love to share what we do. They are, in my opinion, the lifeblood of our brand, and I am very aware that if I keep them entertained and feed them quality content, Girls Soccer Network will continue to thrive. I knew for Miss Kick, it had to be the same.”
Vella’s vision to grow Miss Kick in the United States included creating her very own team in SoCal, registered in WPSL, stacked with unbelievable talent, and coached by Scott Juniper – head coach of the UC Irvine Women’s Soccer Team, which made a terrific run in last year’s College Cup.
“When someone’s vision is clear, it’s easy to jump on board. I also knew immediately that I wanted to help tell the story of Miss Kick FC because, more than anything, it was proof of this giant momentum in the world of women’s football,” Gruskoff said. “The fact that a trendy U.K. brand wanted to connect itself to an amateur team to grow its presence here in the U.S. shows the sport’s power and meaning to young women in this country.”
With the network’s founders coming from advertising and entertainment – Gruskoff is a writer for Film and TV, as well as working marketing campaigns for studios like Disney, CBS and Lifetime, and Union is a bicoastal postproduction and entertainment company – content creation is in GSN’s DNA. “We use all of our channels to create content, and each one requires a different set of skills and creativity,” Gruskoff said.
“For our website, which is a mix of women’s soccer news and lifestyle, we cover the brands in a voice that speaks to our community. Our social is different and really colorful. We use a mix of graphics, interactive content and our GSN influencers to get our content across in a visceral way.” “Union has always looked for opportunities to help empower women, in the workplace and beyond.” said Raimondi of his company’s involvement in the doc.
“Partnering with GSN the way we do gives my young editors a chance to hone their skills while furthering the development of women’s soccer and the fight for equality in the workplace. It also sends a strong message to our daughters and girls everywhere that there are stories to be told and people want to hear them. The support of my Union team is incredible. They are heroes.”
In addition to Miss Kick, SkratchLabs, Ida Sports, Forza Football, and Q-Collar are all involved at the sponsorship level. GSN believes that each of these brands has something special to deliver to women’s soccer, and the network helps them get in front of that audience in a fun, creative way.