USWNT stars are taking their financial success and off-field ventures into their own hands.
Strikers Christen Press and Tobin Heath have started a company, re—inc, alongside USWNT teammates Megan Rapinoe and Meghan Klingenberg.
Left-back Kelley O’Hara, meanwhile, recently started hosting a podcast through Just Women’s Sports.
In speaking with Insider, the three World Cup champions stressed the need to create opportunities rather than relying on others to exact change.
The stars of the US Women’s National Team are no strangers to fighting for what their due. However, ever since a judge shot down the equal pay component of their lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation, some members of the team have put an added emphasis on creating opportunities off the field.
And as with everything else they do, the stars are inspiring and empowering other women along the way.
AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
In interviews with Insider, three World Cup champions who are currently on the USWNT roster spoke about the work they’ve done during quarantine to develop various ventures off the pitch.
Strikers Christen Press and Tobin Heath have started an inclusive lifestyle brand, re—inc, alongside USWNT teammates Megan Rapinoe and Meghan Klingenberg. And with the knowledge they’ve garnered through business ownership, the duo has committed themselves to mentor 15 female founders of up-and-coming businesses through the Stacy’s Rise Project.
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
“As soon as Stacy’s approached us for this opportunity, there were so many synergies between what we’re trying to do with our company, re—inc, and what they’re doing in supporting female entrepreneurs,” Heath told Insider. “We see so much value in mentorship, in creating financial opportunities for young entrepreneurs, in just that thought partnership to help people grow and take their businesses to the next level.”
“Being able to then offer that to people and extend their networks is amazing,” Press added. “It’s not easy for female entrepreneurs to find mentorship because the space is not very full of women at the moment. A great way to start to change that is to support women in business … There’s a ton of things that soccer has also prepared us for business, and we can use some of those lessons as well as the early lessons from re—inc and share that with a group of amazing women who are deeply passionate about social change, that all have different experiences. I actually see it as sharing — learning as well as mentoring. And I think that that two-way street of mentorship is really exciting.”
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Left-back Kelley O’Hara, meanwhile, has just recently started hosting a podcast through Just Women’s Sports. She said the process of taking on the new role unfolded organically because she loves learning about other people’s pathways to success and has long been an avid podcast listener herself.
But beyond the surface-level appeal of hosting a show for the fun of it, O’Hara offered critiques of conventional interactions between media and athletes — particularly female athletes — that she felt equipped to tackle head-on through hosting.
“The ability to sit down peer to peer, athlete to athlete, I think is very unique and doesn’t happen often,” O’Hara told Insider. “I think that’s the best way you can tell your story because you create a space that’s comfortable, and you can probably be a little more vulnerable than you would be speaking to a traditional media outlet.”
“On top of it, I want sports coverage for females to be better,” she added.
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Despite the varied nature of their pursuits — Press and Heath focus on business while O’Hara forays into media — all three stars emphasized their desire to find success, financial or otherwise, without having to rely on another party.
“I’ve learned through my years as a professional that if you want to see something change, you have to be the one to do it,” O’Hara said. “You can’t look around and expect somebody else to do it for you. So here we are.”
Given their extended fight against US Soccer for pay equity, it’s no surprise that they’re looking to pave their way. Heath explained that the first ideas for re—inc came in 2015 when the USWNT won the World Cup and shouldered the weight of a significant pay disparity first-hand.
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“What happened was, our success and our value didn’t align in our minds in a lot of ways,” Heath said. “We saw a lot of other people really financially basically winning a lot more than we did in that World Cup financially. So I think in that moment, instead of asking other people to say ‘Believe in us! Invest in us!’ we believed that we could build a new pie for ourselves.”
“We believed that we could fight for something and make a way for ourselves that we didn’t have to ask somebody else to do it,” she added.
Read the original article on Insider