University of North Carolina lacrosse standout Jamie Ortega is getting in on new NCAA name, image and likeness rules.
The senior announced on Monday that she has signed a deal with lacrosse equipment seller Epoch Lacrosse. She becomes the first female athlete to partner with the company, which was founded in 2010 by former All-American lacrosse player and current CEO James Miceli.
A three-year deal, Ortega will receive compensation for “endorsing, promoting and using” Epoch’s sticks, shafts and other gear. As a result of Ortega’s impending May 2022 graduation, the deal will extend into her pursuit of a professional career and a spot on the U.S. women’s national team.
“As a female athlete, it’s important for me to be able to share my love for the game with the next generation of girls to show that lacrosse is a sport for anyone who has a passion for it,” Ortega said in a release. “I chose to partner with Epoch not only because they have helped me become a better shooter and performer, but because they’ve taken the time to truly invest in me and my brand. I look forward to continuing this partnership and to hopefully inspire the next generation of female athletes.”
Additionally, Ortega will reportedly be working closely with the brand to design her own line of athleisure and performance apparel set to run in late 2021. Meant to be sustainable, the line will be created after purchase so as to avoid waste of products.
The attacker could potentially become the NCAA’s all-time leading goal scorer and second in career points this season, if she matches last season’s output (82 goals, 110 points). But, as she told Forbes, she has one thing on her mind: winning a national title. During her career with the Tar Heels they have reached the Final Four three times — and have lost in all three.
“It’s always in the back of my head,” she said of winning a national championship. “A lot of us have experienced the same thing. You kind of getting sick and tired of it, just coming up short.
“I’m hoping we get over that hurdle the next Final Four that comes around. I want to be there and make it all the way through and finally come out as a champion.”