Periods On The Pitch: 3 Manchester City Women Players Share Their Stories

by | Oct 30, 2023 | Partnerships

As women’s football starts to get the respect it deserves, attention is finally turning to how to support players while they’re on their periods. Whether it’s cramps, bad moods or the worry of leaking onto white shorts, many players have a multitude of period problems to contend with while they’re trying to keep their mind on the pitch.

In 2022, Manchester City Women’s Football Club announced with kit manufacturers Puma that their players would switch to burgundy shorts for the rest of the season, removing the worry of telltale drops of blood on a bright white kit.

The England and New Zealand national teams followed suit, plus West Bromwich Albion F.C. Women and American club Orlando Pride. Now, players also have extra support with period activewear ranges like the Puma x Modibodi collaboration, with absorbent briefs, thongs, shorts and leggings.

To understand the mental, physical and emotional impacts of playing on your period, we cornered three Manchester City players to hear about their experiences.

Esme Morgan, Defender

Esme Morgan, Manchester City Defender
Periods On The Pitch: 3 Manchester City Women Players Share Their Stories

“I’ve been playing football for as long as I can remember, but it’s only recently that I started considering how my period might affect my performance. In competitive sports, you’re looking to get the edge in any way you can.

“Just before I come on my period, I feel clumsy and uncoordinated. When you’re at your best, you play every pass without thought or effort. Everything feels natural, almost unconscious. At certain phases of my cycle, things feel more laboured. My coach might say ‘What’s wrong with you this session?’ I’ll say: ‘It’s just that time of the month, my body’s dopey.’

“My period impacts me emotionally as well. I might feel tired, emotional or more irritable, where I’m usually a happy, bubbly and empathetic person. I also lose motivation.

Periods On The Pitch: 3 Manchester City Women Players Share Their Stories

“Even on bad days, I try to stay positive and make a joke of it. Sometimes when we’ve got a game coming up and I’m feeling stressed, I’ll say, ‘Not today girls, I’m on my period’ and the team will give me a little bit of extra space. We’re all in the same situation, so everyone’s really supportive and understanding.

“When you’re wearing white shorts and it’s your time of the month, you’re forever asking your teammates, ‘Can you just check me?’ It’s stressful. City has really helped us in making the change [to dark shorts.] When you’re playing, you want to concentrate on your game. If you’ve got niggling thoughts in the back of your mind about leaking, it could detract from your performance and you could make a mistake that could be costly for your team.

“In the past, periods have felt like a taboo subject, but happily, that’s changing.”

Laia Aleixandri, Defender

Laia Aleixandri, Manchester City Defender
Periods On The Pitch: 3 Manchester City Women Players Share Their Stories

“I was four when I first started playing football, but when I got my period in my mid-teens, it began to affect my performance. Two days before my period, I feel stronger in myself and play better, but once it comes, I feel softer. At that point, I look at my nutrition and add supplements to my diet.

“I can also feel more emotional than usual, especially during competitive and stressful moments like match day. It can be tough to manage, but I just try to understand how my performance changes and how I can handle it. We talk about it as a team and adjust training if we need to. I also used to worry about my kit when I was on my period, which was distracting. Now, I feel so much more confident wearing underwear like the Puma x Modibodi thong.

Periods On The Pitch: 3 Manchester City Women Players Share Their Stories

“This is an important conversation for women in sport, so I’m glad it’s happening now. Things are changing and players now feel safe to talk about these things.”

Laura Coombs, Midfielder

Laura Coombs, Midfielder
Periods On The Pitch: 3 Manchester City Women Players Share Their Stories

“The day before my period, I start to get pains. I think my coordination suffers as well. I can also feel angry and I tend to sleep quite badly the first couple of nights because I’m so hot, so I can be irritable and snappy.

“As players, we’re very open about our bodies and our health. I was quite an awkward and shy child, so I don’t think I would have known where to start with these conversations when I was younger. Now, thankfully, the conversation is a lot more open.

Periods On The Pitch: 3 Manchester City Women Players Share Their Stories

“It can be hard to handle when you’ve got a massive game and you’re in pain, but you’ve got to get through it. The other girls will make allowances in training, but on game day, once you’re out the door you have to play at your best.

“A lot of sport is in the mind and periods are just another thing to deal with. With the change to darker shorts and the launch of the Puma x Modibodi range, we can simply go out and play at our best. It removes that element of worry around leaks. I love the thong, it’s what I normally wear so it feels like I’m wearing my usual underwear – just with added protection.”

Period Activewear Must-Haves

Puma x Modibodi Active Brief
Puma x Modibodi Active Thong
Puma x Modibodi Active Long Boyshort

Shop the Puma x Modibodi period activewear range here.

This article, written by Isabella Silver, was originally published on Women’s Health UK.

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