It was a deal that arrived late in the day but Softco are reaping the reward of a team that is performing way ahead of expectation and schedule.
The Irish Women’s team secured a place in the quarter finals of the World Cup in London yesterday with a 1-0 win over India. That followed a 3-1 victory over the United States in their opening match and a third group game against England will now have no bearing on their advance to the last eight.
For a team ranked 16th in the world that is some achievement. They now face England on Sunday, in front of a sell out crowd at the Olympic Park venue, already assured of their place in the Quarter Final on Thursday, 2nd August.
To top a group involving three countries whose total combined population is 2.34 billion, one-third of the people living in the world, is almost beyond belief. To do so with the only team at the tournament for which the majority of players are unpaid for their efforts is similarly the stuff of dreams.
Over 100,000 people will have attended the tournament by its close and Sunday’s game against England sold out as far back as last March.
At that time the Irish team had no sponsor but that changed in May, only weeks before the team left when Sandyford based Softco came on board.
With the ability to place branding on the shirt and the skirt, the reward as images have flown around the world will have been many times a multiple of the cost.
Speaking at the announcement of the deal last month, which runs through to the end of this year, Susan Spence, the Founder and CEO of the company said “We are delighted to support the Ireland Women’s Hockey Team at this exciting time with the team heading to London for 2018 World Cup.”
“Although SoftCo is a global organisation, we are proud of our Irish roots and it is great to see the team compete on the world stage in such a huge event.”
“Hockey Ireland was in need of major investment to help our squad prepare for the 2018 World Cup,” said Hockey Ireland CEO, Jerome Pels.
“SoftCo has answered that call and injected vital funds into our organisation which will have a direct impact on the women’s team as they fine-tune their World Cup preparations.”