Please share a bit of background about yourself.
I am from southeastern Wisconsin and studied Political Science at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee. I also have a Master’s in Political Science from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and studied in England and the Netherlands. Growing up, I played soccer, basketball, and baseball/softball, but it was soccer that I loved the most. Prior to moving to Chicago and joining U.S. Soccer, I lived in the Washington, D.C. area for nine years, working in international development. In that work, I had the occasional opportunity to travel to developing countries, and it was always amazing to see how soccer can bring people of varying cultures and customs together like few other things can.
In my free time, I enjoy going to concerts and Shakespeare plays, am always watching British television, and can’t get enough of trivia games!
All pathways are different; how did you get to where you are?
My pathway into sports has been more recent. While some study sports management or similar fields in school and then go on to work in sports, I started in a completely different field. While in Washington, D.C., I managed grants, finance, and operations for large government-funded global health projects. While I learned a lot in those roles, I knew I didn’t want to spend my whole career in the international development field. My original position with U.S. Soccer was as Grants Program Manager, so when that opportunity arose it seemed like the perfect fit between what I had been doing in my career to that point and my lifelong love of soccer. In 2021, I transitioned to overseeing our Membership department, which serves as a connector between U.S. Soccer’s member organizations and the Federation.
In college, I never envisioned myself working in international development, but it worked out that way. I actually thought I would go into intelligence or research. However, it was the skills I gained working in international development that directly led to me having the right skills for my position at U.S. Soccer, so you never know where opportunities that you are given will take you.
What do you love about your current job?
Along with working more closely with U.S. Soccer’s member organizations, I also now have additional responsibilities related to U.S. Soccer’s governance and the management of our Board of Directors. In a way, these responsibilities have taken me full circle from studying governance in my political science degrees to being directly involved in how U.S. Soccer is governed. (Yes, I am one of those people who actually enjoys reading bylaws!)
What advice would you give to women seeking a position in the sports industry?
Find the opportunities that are right for you and take full advantage of them. My path into the sports industry may have been a bit out of the ordinary, but when I found the right opportunity that matched my skills, I went for it. Know your strengths and seek out opportunities that give you the chance to showcase them – they are out there! You don’t have to have a sports-centric educational background to have the right skills to work in the sports industry.