By Ann Kletz for Goal Five
It’s Saturday morning and my teammates and I have just lined up, shoulder-to-shoulder, facing our opponents and waiting for the referees to check our player passes and cleats. As I look at the team standing across from me, I see the same thing that I see every week: the boys are sizing us up. They’re looking at us to try to see if we’ll be fierce opponents or not. As their eyes move down our line, they stop abruptly when they come to me…. because I’m a girl. Then I hear them whisper audibly, “Look, they have a girl. They’re gonna be easy to beat!”. What they don’t realize is that they’ve just defeated themselves, because now I’m fired up! I’m ready to do whatever it takes to stop every single boy that comes down the right flank. Failure for me is not an option. It’s not an option because I have something to prove. I have to prove that I am just as good as they are. I have to prove this for myself and for every little, eight-year old girl on the planet.
As I look back on those formative years, as the only girl in my soccer league, I now see the silver lining. Playing soccer, and having something to prove, taught me how to be poised and confident. It taught me to never give up. It taught me how to work really hard for something I believe in. It taught me to love my teammates, who supported me and believed in me, despite my gender. I see my experience not as a hardship, but rather as a gift. The gift of soccer. Soccer literally shaped who I am, down to my very core, and it informed how I walk through life, and how I relate to others and the world around me. Most of all, it instilled in me a fierce sense of justice and a belief that all people are created equal.
How does this all relate to Goal Five? As a mission-driven company, Goal Five exists to tackle gender inequality in the beautiful game. While the women’s game has come a long way since my childhood, inequality is still rampant across the globe.
Goal five has set out a three-pillared approach to addressing inequality in the game:
Lastly, we believe that solving this inequality isn’t a problem solely solved by women. It’s a problem so great that it will take all parties to engage in order to make progress. That’s why we’re working to bring together girls and boys, moms, dads, grandparents, clubs, development institutions (The United Nations), governing bodies (US Soccer Federation and FIFA), other companies, and professional athletes to build a broad and strong coalition to continue to grow the movement, and push gender equality in soccer forward.
The fire in that little, eight-year-old girl still burns bright and I’ll never stop fighting for gender equality. I’ll never stop fighting so that someday all girls get the gift—and the right-- of soccer and equal status in society. For me, there is no better place from which to fight than Goal Five.
Goal Five Co-Founder
*This article is the second in a series about the company and its origins.
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