Today at EA Redwood Shores, Peter Moore led a lively interview with two-time World Cup winner Julie Foudy in which they discussed everything from the foundation of the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy to the location of her two Olympic gold medals (she keeps them stashed away in her underwear drawer).
While medals may have been where the conversation started, Foudy quickly turned to the real topic of today’s discussion: women’s participation in sports. A member of the Title 9 generation, Foudy went through more than most to make it as a soccer player. She attributes much of her current resilience and personal strength to the time she spent competing on the soccer field.
“Sports give you this voice, this confidence that you don’t get from other places,” Foudy said, explaining why she founded the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy. “It’s an epiphany for these girls that, yes, ‘I can do it!’” Foudy’s academy, which opened in 2006, teaches teenage girls confidence and leadership skills through participation in sports.
Foudy went on to talk about the time she spent in Pakistan’s Kashmir district, where she worked with Reebok to solve the company’s child labor issues. A factory was established to replace the former cottage industry, which had allowed children to work undetected by officials. Reebok also built schools to further youth education. Foudy commented that the strangest part of the experience was the public absence of women; while local boys came out to play soccer with her, she had to go into the kitchens to see Kashmir's women.
At the end of the interview, a Q&A session brought the discussion back to women in sports. Foudy was quick to emphasize the importance of women’s inclusion not only on the field, but on the sidelines as well. “Women need to be at the board level,” she said, speaking to the current lack of female coaches, referees, and administrators, “Let’s create a mentoring program – a pipeline. That’s the next step we have to be better at.”
Peter Moore closed the Q&A session with an announcement that EA would be donating $5,000 to the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy. Foudy, as usual, was grinning.