Nike signs its first college athlete, soccer star Reilyn Turner

Turner’s partnership, and future collegiate sponsorships, will include an element of community impact work.

Reilyn Turner, Nike's first sponsored collegiate athlete

Nike’s U.S.-based partnerships now include collegiate athletes, the brand announced, beginning with Reilyn Turner. A sophomore forward on the UCLA women’s soccer team, Turner shares Nike’s belief in breaking barriers, pushing limits, and creating a more equitable future. Her skills on the field, the brand writes, are matched by her passion to give back off the pitch.

The sponsorship demonstrates Nike’s commitment to supporting women athletes through meaningful partnerships, no matter what stage they’re at in their sports legacy. Earlier this year, Nike enlisted Megan Thee Stallion as its “Hot Girl Coach,” encouraging fans to define sports in their own personal way. “Dance is my sport. Performing is my sport. Rapping is my sport,” Meg said in a promotional clip. “And if you think this don’t take no work and no effort and no sweat, you’re wrong.”

A role model — Turner has proven she’s putting in the effort, too: As a top scorer for UCLA, she finished this season with 10 goals, including a hat trick in September, and was last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. Off the field, she acknowledges the doors soccer has opened for her, and wants to give those same opportunities to local boys and girls by helping them get active and reach their highest potential.


“As a Black woman, 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 in a press release. “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.”

Nike plans to introduce Reilyn to its existing community impact work in Los Angeles, with a focus on working with nonprofit partners that help create an active and equitable future for youth. “Just as we support [our college athletes] in pursuing their goals, they push us to think even bigger about the change we can create together,” the brand said in a statement.

Leveling the playing field — Future collegiate athletes sponsored by Nike will also connect with their local communities, because the impact of sport goes beyond competition and success, the brand added. To Nike, sports lend an opportunity to level the playing field. As Turner puts it, “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.”