Nicole Idowu

Nicole Idowu

Director, IT Support Services
U.S. Soccer federation




Please share a bit of background about yourself.

I would say that I have an eclectic background. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry from Texas Tech University and quickly found myself working in the chemical labs and soon after that transitioned to the healthcare technology field. Within healthcare, I was responsible for the management of various electronic heath records (EHR) and medication management. While I loved the problem-solving aspect of my role in technology, I had always wanted to work in sports operations. With that dream in mind, I quit my job and moved to the United Kingdom to undergo a Football Industries MBA at the University of Liverpool. This course helped me adjust my technology skills into traditional operations skills to be more "marketable" to sports clubs, leagues, and federations. While on the course, I worked a number of part-time and internships with brands and clubs in a push to get my foot in the door. Through conversation with various people in the industry, I found out about a role within U.S. Soccer and joined the Federation in 2018 as Manager of Development Academy (DA) Operations.

I've now been at the Federation for 3 years and in that short time I have worked not only with the DA but also our Referee Department. Starting in 2021, I transitioned to a new role and will be creating a new department called Support Services. This role is responsible for providing technical support to our business departments like Finance and Legal while also supporting our business consulting applications. It's been 6 years since I left technology to embark on chasing my dream job in sports and it's good to be at a place where I can now marry my love for sports with my technology skills.

How would you describe your job?

My role is focused on providing technology support to our business departments and managing our business consulting applications. The job entails working with our internal technology taskforce on our overall technology strategy while also regularly meeting with department leaders to help them envision how technology can enable and support their operations. This role is all about staying organized and identifying areas where we can improve our operations/processes while finding technology solutions that enable our workflow and reduce the reliance on manual processes.

What advice would you give to women seeking a position in the sports industry?

I would tell them to trust themselves, their skills and continue to network. Reach out to those who are working in your "dream" positions and ask them about their story. Volunteer for unpaid positions to build your resume. These are all the steps I took to get my initial roles in the industry.

How do you see women in sport growing in the future?  What would you like to see?

I want to continue to see women - and diverse women - at the highest levels of our sport. Far too often, I am still the only woman or the only person of color in the room. We have made strides in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion space but for us to truly begin to win off the field and on the field, we must start to have those who participate in the sport mirror our country's demographics.