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Nike signs UCLA’s Reilyn Turner in first student-athlete sponsorship

(Photo courtesy of Nike)

Nike has signed UCLA sophomore soccer forward Reilyn Turner in the company’s first college student-athlete sponsorship deal.

The partnership is Nike’s first in the NCAA’s NIL era — where college athletes are allowed to profit off of their name, image and likeness — and signals the company’s commitment to supporting women athletes. A key element of Nike’s deals with student-athletes will be giving back to local communities. Turner will work with Nike’s Los Angeles-based community partners as part of her partnership.

“Whether it’s the community you grow up with or the community you grow into, there’s so much positive impact that can come from how they influence you and how you influence them,” Turner said in a release.

Through the partnership, Nike and Turner hope to provide local kids with the same opportunities that Turner had while playing youth soccer and which helped her land at UCLA. The Aliso Viejo, Calif. native was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2020 after leading the conference in goals. She finished the 2021 season second on the team with 10 goals and 21 points.

“As a Black woman and Mexican American, I think about those who have paved the way for me and how they used their platforms to create so much change, even beyond sport,” Turner said. “I hope to be a role model for those around me and those after me, and I’m so excited to be a part of what Nike is bringing to the future of women’s sport.”

Turner isn’t the first student-athlete to be sign a groundbreaking NIL deal with a major sports brand. In November, UConn basketball star Paige Bueckers became the first college athlete to sign with Gatorade.