WOMEN IN SOCCER JOINS COMMON GOAL AND US WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM PLAYERS TEAM-UP TO TACKLE MENTAL HEALTH
Led by USWNT defender Naomi Girma, USWNT and Common Goal come together to release a powerful statement on mental health ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia & New Zealand 2023
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is the largest Women’s World Cup in history. This year, United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) players, FOX Sports and Common Goal are prioritizing the importance of mental health, on and off the field. FOX Sports, America’s English-language home for the FIFA World Cup, is taking Common Goal’s 1% pledge, targeting 1% of its World Cup coverage, more than two hours of airtime, to discuss the importance of mental health across its platforms.
USWNT defender Naomi Girma is leading the innovative mental health initiative with the support of USWNT forward Sophia Smith and USWNT defender Sofia Huerta through a three-part feature series and multiple public service announcements (PSAs) aired throughout the duration of the tournament, which starts on Thursday, July 20th and concludes Sunday, August 20th.
This morning in an op-ed in The Players’ Tribune, Girma detailed her motivation to launch a mental health project after the loss of Stanford University teammate and best friend, Katie Meyer, and to initiate a call to action for healing across the sport.
Girma and Smith, both Stanford Class of 2021 and 2022 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) number one draft picks, want players and fans to know they aren’t alone. The USWNT players are coming together to prioritize mental well-being across the sport, from the grassroots to the professional level. In a collective video, USWNT stars Alex Morgan, Sophia Smith, Sofia Huerta, Julie Ertz, Alyssa Thompson, Alana Cook, Naomi Girma, Andi Sullivan, Megan Rapinoe and Trinity Rodman share their common goal for mental healing. “The struggle isn’t always visible on the outside and that’s why welcoming vulnerability is so important,” says Smith. “I want to use my platform to help create positive change and speak more about something that so many people are struggling with in silence.” With a united voice, the players read out a powerful “self-talk” message, a humbling unified statement ahead of the tournament kick-off.
The USWNT video transcript is as follows:
Hey, it’s me.
Everyday we face adversity.
I know how you feel. I’ve been there too.
The mental hurdles seem high, but I’m here to support you.
Sure, some days you feel like it’s too much. But you got this.
You. Got. This.
Dig in. Reach out. Vulnerability is a sign of strength, not weakness.
You are not alone.
Together, we have a Common Goal.
Together, we are unstoppable.
Let’s do this.
“My goal is to humanize all of us,” said Girma. “Through our collective voice, throughout this tournament and beyond, we want to demonstrate that vulnerability is a sign of strength.”
Following the tournament, Common Goal’s mental health initiative will bring together coaches from over 15 sports-based youth development organizations working in under-resourced communities across the United States. The immersive training will teach positive coping strategies and provide personal support in communities that historically do not have access to mental health resources. The training will be led by mental health professionals in order to equip coaches with the language, skills, and understanding to support players struggling with anxiety, depression, and loneliness. In addition, the initiative intends to train players from select NWSL teams on how to best integrate emotional well-being within their sporting environments.
“It’s long overdue that our soccer communities put mental health at the forefront when we discuss player care,” said Lilli Barrett-O’Keefe, Executive Director of Common Goal USA. “We are determined to create a culture shift, at all levels of the game, following this summer’s World Cup. We are grateful for the players that are pushing this narrative forward and holding us all accountable to not only talk but act.”
Organizations supporting this initiative include Founding Partner FOX Sports and its parent company Fox Corporation with support from Women in Soccer, E-Motion, Footballco and Indivisa.
Women in Soccer (WIS) is a community that supports marginalized individuals in the soccer industry. Our free network provides resources that help individuals thrive in their careers on and off the pitch and the Common Goal mental health initiative is another invaluable tool for clubs, coaches, players, and office leaders to leverage.
“Community plays an integral role in a person’s mental health journey. Here at WIS, we give leaders and future leaders of the game access to the connections and tools they need to be supported in their job,” said Courtney Carroll Levinsohn, Co-founder of Women in Soccer and sports psychologist. “This program is essential to the success of the soccer industry and reclaiming the game to the inclusive, safe haven it deserves to be.”
Women in Soccer will help provide the coaches working in under-resourced communities access to the in-person program training. Following the conclusion of the training, all program participants–practitioners, players and coaches–will be welcomed into the Women in Soccer network to help sustain the engagement of the group. WIS will also support the initiative’s impact by creating multi-media industry spotlights that showcase participants’ commitment to bringing mental health to the forefront of the game and hosting interactive networking events focused on mental health in the soccer industry.
“In a World Cup year, we have the unique opportunity to leave a lasting impact both on and off the pitch. It’s important to me to amplify this cause on the world’s biggest stage and take action with other players to create meaningful change,” said Naomi Girma, USWNT & San Diego Wave FC.
If you would like to support the development of this program, spread the word and/or donate here. Every effort counts!
About Common Goal: Common Goal is a global impact movement that exists to unite the soccer community in tackling the biggest challenges of our times. The movement aims to inspire and mobilize every stakeholder of the soccer economy to play a meaningful role in serving the wellbeing of people and planet. To do so, Common Goal provides a simple and impactful mechanism for professional soccer players, managers, officials, clubs, and other stakeholders, to pledge a minimum of 1% of their earnings to high-impact initiatives that use the game to drive progress towards the Global Goals. The movement’s long-term ambition is to unlock 1% of the entire soccer industry’s revenues—estimated at $54 billion per year —to establish an intrinsic link between soccer as a business and soccer as a tool for social change. https://www.common-goal.org/
About Women in Soccer: WIS is a free network increasing the agency and representation of women and marginalized individuals working in the beautiful game through community building. Allies are welcome! Our community loves and embraces people of all mind/body types, sexual orientations, gender identities, races, religious backgrounds, and ethnicities. With 3500 members and growing, Women in Soccer partners with leagues, clubs, leaders and changemaking organizations across the United States to create a hub of connections and digital resources that help individuals historically marginalized level up their industry knowledge, professionally develop, and find their people. Whether you’re on the field, or cheering from the stands, work in the business, want to be in the business, or are a passionate changemaker—Women in Soccer is here to support you. Become a member today at https://womeninsoccer.org/join-us.