SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, Fla., to host Feb. 16 first day for Women’s Soccer forever stamp
By Charles Snee
Women’s soccer will receive the ultimate philatelic tribute when the United States Postal Service issues a commemorative forever stamp in the sport’s honor Feb. 16 in Orlando, Fla.
The issuance of the nondenominated (60¢) Women’s Soccer stamp coincides with the 2023 SheBelieves Cup, an invitational women’s soccer tournament taking place Feb. 16-22 in Orlando. Brazil, Canada, Japan and the United States will play in the tournament.
All four teams (along with 28 other teams) will participate in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held July 20-Aug. 20 in Australia and New Zealand.
An official first-day ceremony for the new stamp is scheduled for 11 a.m. Eastern Time at the site of the SheBelieves Cup: Exploria Stadium, 618 W. Pine St, in Orlando.
Matches in the SheBelieves Cup will be played at Exploria Stadium, Geodis Park in Nashville, Tenn., and Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Exploria Stadium is the home stadium for Orlando clubs in Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League.
The first-day ceremony for the Women’s Soccer stamp, which is free and open to the public, will take place in lot parcel B at fan headquarters on the grounds of the stadium.
In a Jan. 17 press release, the Postal Service said that Amber McReynolds, a member of the Postal Service’s board of governors, will serve as the dedicating official.
Anyone desiring to attend the ceremony is asked to register online with the USPS at usps.com/womenssoccer. Each attendee may invite up to four additional guests, according to the USPS.
USPS art director Antonio Alcala designed the stamp using an original graphic image created by artist Noah MacMillan, who died July 31, 2022, at age 33.
MacMillan resided in Takoma Park, Md., and was a frequent contributor to the Riverfront Times, a progressive weekly newspaper in St. Louis.
In an obituary published Aug. 12, 2022, on the Riverfront Times website, John Hendrix, a professor at Washington University (where MacMillan graduated in 2011) shared some thoughts about MacMillan.
“After teaching 18 years, there are always a handful of students who you will never forget. Noah MacMillan was one of those,” Hendrix said.
“He was searching for something, for a voice that was his own from the earliest moments I had him in class. I honestly think I didn’t teach him very much, he had it all inside when I met him.”
MacMillan’s voice and his artistic style are clearly evident in the dynamic image on the Women’s Soccer stamp.
“The graphic stamp artwork depicts a female soccer player in action, walloping a ball with a side volley,” the Postal Service said. “Conjuring the aesthetic of mid-century print design, [MacMillan] used simplified shapes and bold colors to convey the high energy and fast motion of the sport.”
“The somewhat grainy rendering lends a timeless quality to the design, evoking not just a single all-star athlete or era but the entire legacy of women’s soccer.”
Alcala worked closely with MacMillan to bring MacMillan’s vibrant design to the miniature canvas of a postage stamp.
“Working with Noah was a most satisfying collaboration,” Alcala recalled.
“He listened carefully in our initial conversations and he had the quiet confidence to show me multiple excellent ideas, and allowed me to choose,” Alcala said.
Alcala valued the give-and-take between the designer and artist that allowed creativity to flow freely.
“I sensed Noah appreciated the attention to the details in his artwork, and happily made adjustments as requested,” Alcala said.
“My experience with Noah is he had a passion for the subject and for his artwork, and he confidently executed his vision. The process was not burdened by ego, but pursued with an enthusiastic embrace of the collaborative process (along with friendliness and artistic excellence).”
One element of the stamp’s design, a soccer ball, also appears on one of the eight nondenominated (49¢) Sports Balls stamps issued in 2017 (Scott 5205). Like their subjects, the Sports Balls stamps are round.
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