• Name: Leigh Jakes
  • Pronouns: She/Her
  • Position: Former pro player turned Manager of Camps and Clinics for Atlanta United FC. 
  • Catchphrase: “Let’s go, Jakes!”

What’s your favorite soccer memory? 

It’s hard to choose, but my favorite soccer memory was going to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. As soon as I walked into Soccer City stadium for the Ghana vs. Germany match, I instantly felt the electric energy and global love of the game!

What do you think is the greatest thing about women’s soccer or working in soccer? 

Women’s soccer showcases the best parts of the game (resilience, grit, skill, creativity) and is driven by athletes who aren’t afraid to use their platform to inspire social change.

What inspires you even when things are tough? 

When I’m in the middle of a tough situation, I hear my dad’s voice in my head saying, “Let’s go, Jakes!” and I feel inspired to keep going. I remind myself that pushing through is the only way to grow and give me confidence for my next challenge.

Can you tell us about a soccer organization that you admire and why?

I admire Sporty Girls Inc. for its commitment to creating opportunities for minority girls to participate in sports not traditionally marketed to them. For instance, they have programs for soccer, swimming, tennis, golf, and lacrosse. 

Please tell us what experiences and strengths you bring to the WIS community.

I am bringing my experience as a former collegiate and professional soccer player, my experience as a youth soccer coach, my experience as a youth program manager in MLS, and my experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Click here to learn more about Leigh's work at Atlanta FC and the greater Atlanta community.

What impact will connecting more women, marginalized folks and allies have on the equity of soccer?        

When marginalized people connect, they see they are not alone, and that there is power in their voices and value in their experiences. We can hold decision-makers accountable, create community, and make it known that the game belongs to all of us.

Scenes from the Summer Camp at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta, Georgia, on Friday, May 27, 2022. Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)

What makes you excited about WIS? 

The opportunity to connect with other changemakers in the game, to share/learn about career opportunities, and to become part of a passionate group of women who love the game!

We’re stoked to have you in the squad, Leigh!