U.S. Soccer is proud to partner with IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies supporting women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This first-of-its-kind coalition emphasizes that STEM is everywhere, essential to the success of all fields from entertainment to business to sports. IF/THEN is built on the mantra that “if we support a woman in STEM, then she can change the world.”

U.S. Soccer will work with IF/THEN to hire more women into new, full-time positions to support the Federation’s high-performance department and initiatives.  Covering such STEM areas as sports medicine, sports science, data and performance analysis, these positions will directly impact U.S. Soccer’s ability to support and develop world-class players within the U.S. National Team program.



Monica Rho
Associate Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Monica Rho is an Associate Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine where she serves as the Chief of Musculoskeletal Medicine for the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). She is the Reva and David Logan Chair of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation and the Regenstein Chair for Medical Education. She is board-certified in Sports Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). She is the team physician for the US Women’s National Soccer Team and accompanied them to the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, where they won the World Cup. She is the former team physician for the US Men���s Paralympic Soccer National Team and accompanied them to the Rio 2016 Paralympics. She currently serves on the US Soccer Sports Medicine Research, Education, and Advisory Panel for US Soccer. She received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and completed her medical degree and her residency training at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She did her Sports Medicine fellowship within the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. She was previously funded by a National Institute of Health K12 grant to study the neuromuscular control of the hip in femoroacetabular impingement. She has presented her research nationally and internationally. She previously served as the company physician for the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. She is the 2015 recipient of the “Best Teachers of Feinberg Award” at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. At the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, she has also been awarded “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” in 2012 and 2014 and “Mentor of the Year” in 2013, 2015, and 2016.

Senior Manager of Sports Medicine at U.S. Soccer

As the Senior Manager of Sports Medicine at U.S. Soccer, Lea brings impressive skills in both on and off field delivery and management of medical services. Lea’s role was strategically created during the development of the High Performance Department at USSF to improve health care provision and to enrich policy and procedures for player safety and wellness for the Youth and Senior National soccer teams. Lea’s responsibilities encompass management and mentoring of a large network of multi-disciplinary medical providers as well as collaboration with external consultant medical staff to the Federation. Prior to her role with U.S. Soccer, Lea served as Director of the Athletic Training Program and instructed in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at San Diego State University. Lea has maintained an active clinical presence as a physical therapist and athletic trainer. Her work in multiple settings has contributed to her passion to help individuals in the areas of functional evaluation, rehabilitation, therapeutic exercise, and injury prevention.

Head of Performance for the Women’s National Team at U.S. Soccer

Ellie Maybury joined U.S. Soccer in 2016 as lead Sport Scientist for the Youth Women’s National Teams.  In 2020, Ellie was named Head of Performance for the Women’s National Team.  In this role, Ellie is responsible for creating and executing the overall day-to-day sport science and performance plan for the USWNT.  Ellie’s job requires her to use science, technology, and research to deliver innovative and progressive sport science services.  She oversees athletic development, optimal preparation of players for competition, monitoring of players’ physical loads during training and matches, maintaining optimal recovery post-training/competition, injury prevention strategies, nutritional strategies, and prescription of strength and conditioning training programs. Before joining U.S. Soccer, Ellie worked for four years at the England Football Association as a sport scientist with their youth female National Teams. Alongside this role, Ellie also worked for Birmingham Women F.C. with their first team in the English professional league. During her time at Birmingham, Ellie helped the team achieve success in league and cup competitions, and the UEFA Women’s Champion’s League. Ellie began her career in 2007 working with youth players at Birmingham Centre of Excellence. Ellie has a BSc in Sport Science from the University of Birmingham, and an MSc in Exercise Physiology from Loughborough University. She is currently living in Chicago. Her job requires her to travel extensively both in the U.S. and worldwide for training camps and competition.

Sarah Leslie
Sarah Leslie
Youth National Team Athletic Trainer at u.s. Soccer

Sarah brings a wealth of experience to our sports medicine team. Prior to joining U.S. Soccer, Sarah spent eight years with USA Rugby, with the last two years as Head Athletic Trainer for the WNT Olympic 7s squad based in Chula Vista, CA. She lead the Sports Medicine dept in the HSBC World 7s Series and at the 2018 7s World Cup. She has also been to two Women’s Rugby World Cups, helping the USA finish 4th in 2017 – the team’s highest placing in 20 years. Sarah also spent 5 years in the intercollegiate athletic department at Penn State University. Sarah graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 2005 and West Virginia University with a Master of Science Degree in 2009. Sarah’s graduate assistantship was completed at Waynesburg University. Prior to completing her education, she gained additional experience through internships with the Columbus Crew SC and University of Florida Football. Hailing from Detroit, Sarah is a loyal University of Michigan fan, enjoys good coffee, the surf and taco’s.

Laura McLane
Laura McLane
Youth National Team Athletic Trainer at u.s. soccer

Laura came to U.S. Soccer from Utah State University, where she worked as an Athletic Trainer with the Women’s Soccer program from the last four seasons. She previously worked at Virginia Commonwealth University as their Women’s Soccer Athletic Trainer. She’s also been a First Aid and CPR Instructor for more than five years. Laura earned her Master’s degree ins Exercise Science with an emphasis in Sports Medicine, from Utah State University. Her Bachelor’s Degree is in Athletic Training from Washington State University. In her current role with the Federation, Laura will oversee the health and wellbeing of the U18, 19 and 20 Women’s National Teams, and work to continue to build the High Performance Department at U.S. Soccer. Laura enjoys collaborating across departments in order to provide the best care and experience for each athlete under her care. All aspects of athlete wellness are top priority.

IF/THEN Spotlight: Sarah Leslie

Working in STEM as an Athletic Trainer has allowed Sarah Leslie to combine her love for athletics and her interest in human movement. 
Learn more about Sarah’s story and how she’s tackled every challenge in her way.

IF/THEN x U.S. Soccer

IF/THEN Spotlight: Laura McLane


“Realize that your potential is so much more than you could ever think.” As an Athletic Trainer, Laura McLane helps our U.S. Soccer athletes return to the field to play the game they love. She also hopes to inspire other women to pursue their dreams in STEM.

IF/THEN x U.S. Soccer

Primed for Performance

Primed for Performance is a six-part video series that highlights the women of U.S. Soccer’s High Performance department and how they use STEM to help our players and National Teams reach their goals. In this series, USWNT Head of Performance Ellie Maybury, Sports Medicine Senior Manager Lea Thomann, and USYNT Athletic Trainers Sarah Leslie and Laura McLane discuss their jobs and career paths, supporting world-class players, the importance of having more females in STEM roles, and more.


Primed for Performance: High Performance 101

What does the U.S. Soccer High Performance department do? Ellie, Laura, Lea, and Sarah cover the basics of what they do, what skills they use every day, and how they are impacting the athletes they support.



Primed for Performance: Growing the Game

How are STEM roles impacting the sport of soccer?  Watch as Ellie, Laura, Lea, and Sarah talk about how they can impact the players of today and the game of the future.


Primed for Performance: A Day in the Life

What is the day-to-day like in U.S. Soccer’s High Performance department? Hear from Ellie, Laura, Lea, and Sarah as they describe life on the road, always being prepared, and other aspects of life behind-the-scenes with U.S. Soccer’s National Teams.



Primed for Performance:  STEM Career Paths


How did the women of U.S. Soccer’s High Performance department get to where they are today?  Ellie, Laura, Lea, and Sarah share their advice for women and girls who want to pursue a career in sports science or sports medicine.


Primed for Performance:  It Takes a Team


It takes a dedicated, talented team of staff to support U.S. Soccer’s teams on the pitch.  In this episode, Ellie, Laura, Lea, and Sarah talk teamwork, diversity, and the importance of having female staff to support female athletes.


Primed for Performance:  Youth Development


In soccer and in life, the youth are the future.  Hear from Ellie, Laura, Lea, and Sarah as they discuss educating young players, the importance of instilling good habits, and how they impact young players on and off the pitch.

FEATURING Dr. Monica Rho

Meet Dr. Monica Rho, Team Physician for the U.S. Women’s National Team and AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador. Dr. Rho has “one of the best jobs in the world” serving the athletes that inspire generations.


Meet Ellie Maybury, U.S. Women’s National Team High Performance Coach, Youth National Team Sports Scientist and AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador. Ellie helps keep our female national team players fit and in peak performance in camps and beyond.

FEATURING Lea Thomann 

Meet Lea Thomann, one of U.S. Soccer's #WomenInStem rockstars. As the sports medicine senior manager, Lea is responsible for the well-being of all our National Team players which allows them to stay fit in this elite environment.

go behind the crest to learn how stem impacted the road to france

In this episode of Behind the Crest, Presented by Volpi Foods, the U.S. WNT’s last event of 2018 has brought the team to Portugal, where it began training camp with some physical testing that will help High Performance Coach Dawn Scott set a foundation for the players to hit the ground running in January on the road the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.


About IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies

IF/THEN® seeks to further advance women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers. Rooted in a firm belief that there is no better time to highlight positive and successful female professional role models, IF/THEN® is designed to activate a culture shift among young girls to open their eyes to STEM careers by: (1) funding and elevating women in STEM as role models, (2) convening cross-sector partners in entertainment, fashion, sports, business and academia to illuminate the importance of STEM everywhere, and (3) inspiring girls with better portrayals of women in STEM through media and learning experiences to pique their interest in STEM careers. Learn more at www.ifthenshecan.org.