NWSL and Ally have teamed up to present Game Changers - women soccer players making a difference

There is a lot that goes into the game of soccer: strategy, fitness, commitment and passion. The execution of those qualities make the members of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) incredible footballers, but it is the total embodiment of each that many players carry off the field to impact the communities and people around them.

As an official sponsor of the NWSL, Ally has the honor of supporting the league through branded sponsorships. However, the true privilege comes through opportunities to amplify the players themselves, which is why we are proud to present a new video series consisting of player profiles that goes beyond how they change the game on the pitch, to how they are true Game Changers in life.

Game Changers will release a new episode each week – highlighting an individual player and how they make a difference in their world, inspiring fans to strive to change the game for those around them and seek ways to always be an ally.

 

Episode 1 – Entrepreneurially: Jamia Fields

Jamia Fields plays forward, most recently as a member of the Houston Dash. Along with a passion for soccer, Jamia has been a lifelong fan of fashion. In her seventh year as a professional women’s soccer player, she launched her own lifestyle apparel brand and small business, Stoic Los Angeles.

Jamia Fields makes a symbol of LA to represent her Game Changing work in Los Angeles
Jamia Fields uses her entrepreneurial passion to serve as a Game Changer off the field.

Through Stoic LA, Jamia creates pieces of clothing she hopes reflect her passion for fashion while also delivering a message of endurance to those who have faced obstacles and have been viewed as the underdog. Jamia explains the hope for Stoic LA is to “take obstacles and use them as fuel. I have seen that a lot of times in my career, and life in general, that I had to continue to endure, continue to believe, and continue to keep believing in my talent to grow to my goals.” Her first collection, Endure Beyond Your Control, delivers that message beautifully.

Jamia Fields is an ally for those who have endured.

Episode 2 – Heroically: Erika Tymrak

When watching Erika Tymrak play soccer it’s clear that she was born with a love for the game and an incredible talent to dominate on the field. What isn’t as clear is the battle she has overcome to keep her passion for professionally competing alive. “I think when you are playing you get so caught up in performing and trying to be the best athlete that you neglect your happiness and your mental health, and I think a lot of athletes struggle with that,” Erika explains. “It’s important to share your stories – because you are not alone.”

After a successful college career – where she was awarded SEC Player of the Year – Erika was drafted by FC Kansas City. As a pro, she received the high honor of Rookie of the Year and helped her team win two championships. However, with the high level of success came greater feelings of pressure, anxiety and stress. Aware of the stigmas of weakness associated with mental health struggles, Erika kept her depression to herself and made the difficult decision to retire. She moved to California and focused on getting back to good.

Soccer player Erika Tymrak poses in front of a soccer goal as a NWSL and Ally Game Changer
Erika Tymrak leads with vulnerability and support to serve as a true Game Changer.

A year later, she opened up and shared her story with a fellow soccer player and friend – it was then that she was reminded of her love for the sport. Erika says, “I knew deep-down that I still wanted to play, but I think the biggest fear I had was that my mental health would decline again.” Her focus on happiness and ongoing practice of good mental health has helped her stay grounded and return to the sport she loves as midfielder for the Orlando Pride.

Erika is an ally for those who feel like they are alone and can’t get out of those dark places. She is here to help them see it’s possible.

Episode 3 – Equally: Imani Dorsey

For Imani Dorsey, soccer is more than a game, it is a door to education, growth and change. As a defender for NJ/NY Gotham FC, Imani uses her platform to make sure young girls can open the same doors to a strong future. Imani is a founding board member of the Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC), a nonprofit created to advance opportunities for Black female athletes. The organization’s mission is to show young Black girls they are valued and they have opportunities within soccer, not just to be a professional player, but to get an education, to be a part of shaping policy, making change and opening doors for other Black girls in the future.

Imani Dorsey poses with soccer balls as she works for equality
Imani Dorsey stands up to support and give back to underserved communities.

Throughout her soccer career, first as a star at Duke University and then as a starting defender for Sky Blue FC (now NJ/NY Gotham FC), Imani always wanted to give her best for her coaches and teammates. It is that drive that makes it no surprise to learn Imani spends her time off the field doing the same for the communities around her. Most recently, the BWPC partnered up with Black Players for Change and the U.S. Soccer Foundation to convert old basketball and tennis courts into soccer pitches in under-resourced communities. Through these mini-pitches Imani and other players can engage with the local communities, particularly young Black girls, to show them their importance.

Imani explains, “All I want these girls to know, and these kids to know, is that they are valued and they matter. That they can dream of whatever they want, and they can be whatever they want. And we are here to support them through that.”

Work that Matters

NWSL players are using their voices year-round to impact and elevate those around them. Their work is opening doors for members of the community and giving them space to feel safe, heard and accepted.

Remember to check back next week to meet another Game Changer and learn about the impact of their work.

Meet more entrepreneurs and game changers, stepping up to help their communities.