#9 WWC23 STARTING XI BEHIND THE TEAMS: SUSIE DOLE-HEWITT
What’s your favorite thing about working in soccer?
My favorite thing about working in soccer has been understanding and contributing to a fairly hidden part of the industry. Beyond what happens on the pitch, an operational team behind the scenes makes it all possible. The work often goes unseen but is key in allowing folks worldwide to enjoy the beautiful game. I’ve been lucky to work with incredibly dedicated and intelligent coworkers/friends who have impacted my personal and professional growth over the past 2.5 years.
What are you most excited about for the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
Witnessing the pinnacle of women’s soccer! It’s been incredible to see the competitiveness across the board, from some of the greats but more notably from the historically lower-ranked teams. The leveling of the playing field reflects the continuing growth of the women’s game.
You’re a Special Events Manager; what were your top priorities for World Cup preparations? What are your priorities now the tournament has begun?
Leading up to the World Cup, my priorities were focused on project management of U.S. Soccer’s non-team programming (Family Program, Patrons Program, Media Program, Ticketing, etc.), which involved leading weekly meetings, setting deadlines and due dates, keeping track of initiatives and coordinating staff travel. The goal of this was to streamline communications between different working groups and facilitate efficiencies in the planning process and execution.
On the ground, my priorities have been focused on supporting our Family Program. The program’s goal is to make the logistical details around the World Cup easy (and fun!) for family and friends of the players so they can focus on supporting their loved ones on the pitch. We organize hotels, ground and charter transportation, match tickets, and group excursions, among many other things.
What advice would you give someone who wants to become a special events manager in the soccer industry?
My advice to anyone wishing to work in events is to get out there and explore different roles and opportunities; don’t wait for the perfect job to appear. Working in events requires a diverse skill set that can be learned through any number of avenues. Getting experience in a range of projects and roles (Marketing, Sponsorship, Ticketing, Community Programming, etc.) can give you the background you need to succeed when that perfect event job pops up!
What impact do you think more women and unrepresented folks working in soccer will have on equity in the industry?
More diversity in the soccer industry is the only way for the game to truly grow and permeate more diverse communities across the United States. A multitude of backgrounds and cultures, from the pitch to the front office, brings crucial knowledge, insights, and creativity to a historically male-dominated industry that can often feel stagnant.
Susie, thank you for all your work supporting Team USA and for sharing your World Cup journey with the WIS squad!
This WWC23 Starting XI Behind The Teams spotlight is brought to you by Women in Soccer in partnership with Talisman & Co.