When it comes to women in sport, much progress has been made with respect to representation and empowerment. It’s the reason PUMA’s She Moves Us platform came to be. Now in its second season, the campaign is centred around celebrating women who move together to connect through sport, culture and shared values. It’s a sentiment that resonates with Canadian pro soccer player Erin McLeod, both a revered goalkeeper and a powerful change maker. Read on for our chat with McLeod, in which she talks about the importance of representation in sport and how she finds forward momentum in the face of hardship.

What does the PUMA She Moves Us campaign mean to you?

“[It’s] about representation. Whether you’re queer or a person of colour or you don’t conform to gender norms, seeing an athlete who is like you is so powerful. When I was a kid, all my sports heroes were men—I wanted to be like Wayne Gretzky. When I saw [Canadian figure skater] Elizabeth Manley compete at the Olympics when I was five, it was the beginning of how I saw women in sport, because I saw there was a place for us. It’s why I’m so encouraged by She Moves Us. It’s amazing that young people can see athletes on TV or in social media that they can relate to and be inspired by.”

How do you overcome hardship as an athlete?

“As people, we really identify with what we do—it becomes our whole identity. So when we lose a job or get injured, we don’t know who we are without this one thing, which is especially true for athletes. When I tore my ACL right before the [2016 Rio de Janeiro] Olympics, I got depressed. I thought I had lost everything. But day after day, I started focusing on the things I was grateful for. It was probably the most significant exercise of my life. When you think you’ve lost everything, you always have yourself and who you are.”

How do you define success as an athlete?

“Over time, it has changed. There’s the on-field battle, but there’s also the off-field. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the most recent collective bargaining agreement with the National Women’s Soccer League, and I’ve been fighting for our rights as a player rep for the national team for over a decade. Progress is what we’ve always pushed for, and I have to recognize how far we’ve come. Success is a moving target, and as I’ve gotten older, the biggest joy is empowering the people around me and helping them find their voice, whether it’s on the field or off.”

Erin’s PUMA picks:

PUMA Deviate Nitro Women’s Running Shoes: “I’m absolutely obsessed with this shoe. I could wear it all day. I’m a stickler about runners—some runners look great but you don’t actually want to run in them. This pair is both.”


PUMA FUTURE Z: “Because I’m a soccer player, I have a history of bad nerve pain in my feet. The FUTURE Z have a lot of stretch and give to them, so my feet can breathe for the first time in years.”


PUMA High Court Regal Ralph Sampson Sneakers: “[PUMA Hoops creative director] June Ambrose did a fantastic WNBA line, and these old-school high-tops she created in the series are fire.”


View PUMA’s She Moves Us campaign anthem below. To shop PUMA Women’s apparel and footwear, head to Sport Chek.