Guest Blog Post by Courtney Ksiazek, WISE Member + Director, Partnership Marketing for San Jose Earthquakes
I had an opportunity about a month ago to attend the Women’s World Cup in France. Being at Parc Olympique Lyonnais alongside 58,000 other soccer fanatics, many of which were America, was a truly once in a life time experience. Not only were the games themselves exciting but being able to meet and share the peak of the world’s game with other fans was incredible. There is something different about seeing fellow fans of the U.S. team in a foreign country united by a common bond. We met people from all over the United States that shared a unique story about the sport and what made them travel all the way to France to see the Women’s National Team play.
This team was, and still is, special. This specific group of 23 women are game changers and game challengers for the Women’s National Team program and for women beyond sports. They took the platform they earned on the world’s stage and relentlessly pursued greatness on and off the field. To witness this first hand was an inspiration. At the championship match when the final whistle blew, I became emotional! As a grown woman I couldn’t help it because immediately my mind remembered what it was like watching the 1999 Women’s World Cup team as a young girl and feeling the same sense of inspiration then as I did in that moment in Lyon – this time it was an even more electric atmosphere. Like many people, I played soccer growing up, as many do, but I fell absolutely in love with the game and continued on to play Division I college soccer and furthermore made a career in soccer (while still getting my fix playing in rec leagues!). As someone who works day in and day out around the game of soccer, I took on an even deeper appreciation for the athletes, coaches, and staff that it takes to put on these types of mega events like the World Cup.
As women of the WISE SF Bay Area Chapter, we are not strangers to putting on events, games, and working hard to make a difference in the sports community. I couldn’t help but keep this group of women in mind during my experience in France drawing on the connection between the group of women on the field and women across the world watching. The inspiration to do and be more goes far beyond the field and my hope that women in our chapter and women across industries take a bit of the USWNT’s swagger, confidence and laser focused energy to achieve whatever goal they set.
Icing on the cake was being able to host a Women’s Soccer Panel WISE event after the tournament. We, at the San Jose Earthquakes, hosted close to 60 WISE members and guests to hear from women that were involved in the Women’s World Cup in a variety of ways. The panel included Sam Weber of Hudl, Brooke Donberg of Luna Bar/Clif Bar and U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Brandi Chastain. It was great to continue the conversation after the competition was over and share the insider experience with the WISE SF Bay Area chapter.