Member Spotlight: Meet Aries
Name: Aries Pickett, Sr. Manager, Talent & Administration at the @NWSL
Words to live by: The only person you want to be better than is the person you were yesterday.
What’s your favorite soccer memory?
I first started at the NWSL in June 2019 and the World Cup was well underway. One of my greatest moments in soccer was when it finally sunk in that my work was a part of the momentum behind the USWNT winning the World Cup. As a professional in this industry and a huge soccer fan, I was like, “Hello! I work for the league that represents these players!”
I’m sure that was so special, especially knowing you were a piece of that puzzle! What do you think is the greatest thing about women’s soccer?
The fans! The young people that are influenced by women in soccer. This is the type of positivity the U.S. needs right now. After the USWNT won the World Cup, we would get bombarded with letters from fans saying how much they were encouraged and inspired by the women in our leagues. I work in Chicago at the league headquarters and during the World Cup tons of young fans would wait outside the building; they would cheer for us walking in or ask us questions about the players and the league.
Oh my goodness, Aries—you’re their soccer celebrity!
I know, it was crazy! I mean soccer has always been bigger than just a game and I think the women in our league represent something so positive, and we all need that right now. Honestly, I think women in soccer represent the type of unity we should think of when we think of America. Our players are an inspiration to our future leaders! (Laughs) at the NWSL, we literally have little girls making signs and writing us letters saying they demand equal pay! We can be game-changers with this sport and it’s important that we keep building on that.
That is so amazing to hear! What inspires you even when things are tough?
Hope inspires me. I’m a woman of faith and I always just hope for a better day when things are tough. There are always things to be grateful for—like my family who inspires me every day, especially because they impact my life in such a positive way. From them, I have learned that I want to be an example for others and leave a legacy. I want to push myself so others can get energy and encouragement from me and think that they too can live the life that’s most meaningful to them.
What soccer organizations doing work for underrepresented communities do you admire?
Organizations that are particularly meaningful to me are all those that focus on urban programming for underserved communities, especially where there’s a lack of resources and support for positive outlets like soccer. Some young people in our cities really just don’t even have a safe place to play. How can they grow up to be like our NWSL stars if they can never see that pathway? Soccer should not have a color or a class!
With WIS, I’m ready to use our platform to just say to any urban program, “Where can we help? Let’s work together and bridge gaps!” We can dive into amplifying organizations like AmericaSCORES.
We love AmericaSCORES—they’re already WIS Impact Partners! What inspires you about their work?
Just their focus and drive to making sure that all kids in urban areas get to experience a positive community within soccer. They combine soccer with poetry workshops! It’s empowering and adorable.
What impact do you think connecting more women and allies will have on the equity of soccer?
Oh my gosh, it will have a huge impact. Like I said before, soccer has no color and I think that really intentionally highlighting and connecting diverse women who love this game is crucial. That’s how we’ll take soccer culture to the next level. I want everyone to support everyone so underrepresented people know there is a place for them in this industry. Like look at me: I’m not a player, but I work in HR and I love this game so I found a pathway into making it my career.
What makes you excited about WIS?
One of the things I’m especially excited about is trying to get WIS to be an official partner of the NWSL. There are unlimited possibilities for women if we push and create them together. We could make job opportunities, of course, but also webinars, workshops, and community-led initiatives. There are so many things both the NWSL and WIS members could benefit from if we work together. I’d love to be the person to help marry the two. That’s what WIS is all about, right? Connecting women who can put their expertise forward to make something better for us all!
Nailed it, Aries! Thank you!
WIS member spotlights are conducted and written by our content producer Pip Penman.