Cristina Kovacs

Software Engineer
U.S. Soccer Federation




Lizzy Lombardo, U.S. SOCCER Member Programs Associate

What inspired you to pursue this job?


I was born in Romania, where soccer is extremely popular. Even though my family moved to the United States when I was 3, I grew up watching soccer and also playing on the weekends in a forest preserve with my family. I had decided I wanted to be a software engineer when I was in 8th grade, and when I was approached about this position I was immediately excited because it was a great way to use my skills for a great cause that also links back to my heritage.




How does your position as Software Engineer contribute to U.S. Soccer’s MISSION?


My main focus right now is handling the back-end data for our Insider program, and to facilitate other departments in using this data to better serve our fans. I am also part of the team that is building out new features for this program. I think these responsibilities are important because the more we grow our programs, the more outreach we have to grow and engage our fan base, and therefore increase the popularity of our sport in the United States.




What skills do you use every day?


In addition to programming skills, the most important skill I use every day is communication.  My team works extremely well together because we all communicate well and don’t make decisions that impact others without talking to each other. If something is wrong, we all work together to fix it. We also work very closely with other departments and other agencies, so communication skills are extremely important there to make sure we share knowledge and work towards our common goal seamlessly and effectively.




What impact do you want to make WITH YOUR WORK?


What I loved the most – and what originally drew me to computer programming – is the ability to create things that people will use and enjoy and benefit from using. I am excited to be working on projects that will directly impact our staff and our fans and enhance their experience and connection with U.S. Soccer. 




What advice would you give to women trying to pursue a career in sports?


Don’t be intimidated and don’t doubt yourself. If it is something you enjoy and have a passion for, there is no reason why you can’t pursue it. It’s hard to hear that women don’t want to go into technology and sports because they feel like they’re not good enough or that they won’t be accepted or taken seriously.  If you find yourself in a place where you are not treated like a team member, that’s a problem with that specific organization’s culture, not the industry as a whole.


Everyone goes through a different journey and knowing your worth is important.  This doesn’t apply only to women in sports, but in general – don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because of your circumstances.  Stand up for yourself and have confidence in what you know and also recognize what you do not know.  When you make a mistake, acknowledge it and learn how to do it better the next time.  That is how you grow your skills and abilities and also earn respect from the people you work with.