Coach Educator, A-Youth & B License
U.S. Soccer Federation
CJ Gascoigne, U.S. Soccer Talent Identification Associate
Can you start by telling me a little bit about yourself?
I am originally from Denver and started playing soccer at a very young age. Even though it wasn’t popular when I was growing up, I was still enamored with the sport. I played club soccer all throughout my youth and then went on to Colorado College where I was an All-American. After college I was offered a contract with a professional league in Japan but decided to pursue aviation in the Air Force.
What does your day-to-day look like?
On days where I am in the office, I am attending meetings, instructing courses, communicating with coaches and instructors, and evaluating candidates. Outside the office, I attend events as a speaker, mentor the coaching instructors, and scout for the Youth National Teams.
What do you love about your current job?
I love that no two days in the job are ever the same. Since the world around us is ever-changing, our teaching and coaching methods have to constantly be changing as well to adjust to the new perspectives of both the players and coaches.
When did you realize that this job was the right fit for you?
When I was 16, I was asked to coach a youth recreational soccer team and from there I was hooked. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to coach and interactions and impact I had on the children. I knew I wanted to eventually pursue it as a career. After teaching my first youth module course back in 2008, I was hooked on coaching education. I loved the interactions with coaches and getting to help grow the sport through education.
What advice would you give to women seeking a position in your field?
Since the sports industry is so male-dominated, I suggest networking as early as possible. I would also encourage young women to stay in-tune with what is going on in the soccer world and to be comfortable being in front of others – being a woman teaching a class of males, for example.
What is one piece of advice you wished someone had told you before starting this career path?
One piece of information I wish I had before entering this career path is to know what you’re stepping into and completely understand the landscape. Since the world and its people are constantly changing, the landscape can be hard to grasp, but it is also what I enjoy the most about my career.
What inspires you the most, and why?
Seeing young female coaches coming through the ranks and the opportunities they have is what inspires me the most. I truly want this next generation of women to be in more leadership roles. Even outside of soccer, I believe that we need more women being leaders, mentors, and owners.
Who inspires you the most, and why?
My parents are who inspire me the most. They lived in the South during the civil rights movement and they always told me to be the best at what I do. I take that motto with me everywhere and really try to embrace it in all aspects of my life.
How do you see women in sport growing in the future? What would you like to see?
Growing up, most girls are coached by men rather than women, so many times it’s overlooked as a career possibility for them. Going forward, I would like to create a female-friendly working environment. Having more women in leadership roles will help create representation for all women in the industry.