Name: Jackie Gutierrez
Industry Position:
Content Producer 
Organization/ Team: Women Kick Balls 
Catch Phrase: Growing the game!
Social Handles: Instagram @womenkickballs, Twitter @womenkickballs

What’s your favorite thing about working in soccer?
There are many things! But it comes down to the people in the soccer community. I’ve met so many people through working in the game -from fans to players to colleagues, and it’s all about different people coming together over soccer. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of access to games and women’s soccer, and now, seeing how the sport is growing is so exciting! Another favorite thing about having a job I’m passionate about is that I get to work with people who share that passion. I’m always so blown away by how many intertwined connections there are too. Soccer people always know someone you can connect with.

What are you most excited about for the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
It’s a full-circle moment in my career as a freelance content producer. There are so many ups and downs some days you don’t have work, some weeks you’re working 13-hour days. My dad exposed me to the 2011 USA vs. Japan World Cup final, and the game had me on the edge of my seat! Even though they lost, I was so inspired by it, and it led to my desire to write about the game and create creative content. Now, in 2023, the World Cup is sparking so many conversations – it’s so cool to talk to people about this year’s World Cup as something that’s already creating history. Over 1.5 million tickets sold! It’s incredible!

You’re a freelance content producer. What are your top 3 priorities for World Cup preparations?
At first, getting applications in for media passes to cover the game was a wild time. Since it was my first time applying for media creation through FIFA, there were a few steps to the process, and you need existing credentials to get approved.

How do you get media credentials?
First, you have to clarify what credentials you need: photos or media, journalism, and then establish you’re a legitimate media person. When I first started covering USWNT games as a content producer, I used the name of the media company I was interning with. That gave me exposure and a start, so it was more legitimate when I started to apply for media approvals under Women Kick Balls (my own media outlet). They got approved, so it was a case of adding those media passes to my portfolio and building connections with media contacts in U.S. Soccer and the NWSL for whenever I planned to work at my next game. 

What advice would you give someone who wants to become a content producer in the soccer industry?

  • Show up! Whether it’s a press conference or any other media opportunity, just show up, even if you don’t have a question. Your name and face will become familiar to media circles and being there will help build your confidence and credibility.
  • Consistency is another tip. Whatever type of content you specialize in, drop it consistently. I write weekly game recaps, and the people who follow me and subscribe to my email become used to that weekly content. So get your content out there consistently, whether to 1 or 100,000 subscribers.

  • Give YOUR best work. For example, if a client asks for something you don’t know how to do, you can say, “Hey, I’m doing my best, and this is where I’m at so far.” In my experience, people respond to this more supportively, and it’s then your chance to set a new standard for yourself and grow.

  • Take risks. Go up to that person you admire in the industry and ask a question or for their email. The soccer world is so small you never know what opportunities it might lead to. I’ve gotten plenty of work from introducing myself in an industry setting.

  • Value rest. Don’t be in work mode all the time. Easier said than done, but sleeping and unplugging from it all is critical for happiness and effective working. 
San Diego Wave FC hosts a “State of the Wave” event. Photo credit: Ryan Young.

What impact do you think more women and unrepresented folks working in soccer will have on equity in the industry?
It’s so valuable! Diverse voices bring a different layer of insight and can offer a whole new perspective on soccer and the industry that others don’t see. Little things like “easy access to games” could get overlooked if you’re already used to that privilege. Marginalized communities can see that – I’m a young Hispanic woman, so I know what it’s like to be a minority. My hope is one day, I’m not the “only” in a room, and everyone’s questions and opinions are equally valued. I also think ensuring all people have the right intentions, regardless of gender or identity, is critical. If you’ve got good intentions, you should work in the game. Marginalized folks with good intentions often get overlooked so we need lots more of them in soccer.

How can we bring more diverse voices into media roles?
From my position, when I see younger people or people who seem nervous or unlike the usual people we see in the media, I try to bring them into the conversation. We all remember how intimidating starting was, but there’s no need to compare yourself to others. We each bring something unique to the soccer industry. I want that message to be more normalized. It makes me think of Women in Soccer. The WIS network is something my younger self would have really appreciated because WIS makes the industry seem welcoming and supportive to work in. I hope more people begin to see the positive impact of diverse voices working in the game. I’m excited for everything we have ahead of us.

Thanks so much for supporting the squad and sharing your expertise, Jackie!

Keep your eyes peeled on the Women Kick Balls store for pre-orders of the 2023 Women’s World Cup magazine. The glossy content will be jam-packed with Jackie’s photos from the World Cup and some of the best industry scops in the biz!

Photo credit: WIS member Sandra Velez-Lopez

This WWC23 Starting XI Behind The Teams spotlight is brought to you by Women in Soccer in partnership with Talisman & Co.