As an official sponsor of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), Ally has the honor of amplifying the talent, character and passion of the league’s players. One of the many ways we help tell their stories is through Game Changers, a video series that highlights how players are changing the game, on and off the field.
In season one of Game Changers, viewers were inspired by Jamia Fields, Erika Tymrak, Quinn, Imani Dorsey and Arin Wright. Season two’s roster is just as incredible and promises to both hearten fans and help cultivate the power of being an ally.
Who better to kick off the new season than North Carolina Courage’s defender Carson Pickett?
Episode 1 – Unapologetically: Carson Pickett
Pickett has been playing soccer since she was five years old, and in 2014, she led Florida State to its first NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship. Since then, she has played in more than 100 games for the NWSL’s Seattle Reign (OL Reign), Orlando Pride and North Carolina Courage. In June of 2022, Pickett became the first player with a limb difference to play for the United States Women’s National Team.
Early in Pickett’s career, she had to overcome the frustration of people focusing on her arm rather than her soccer abilities. “I wanted to go to Florida State, be a great student, be a great soccer player and that was it – I wanted it to have nothing to do with my arm,” she explained. However, as she and her team got closer to taking home a championship, Pickett noticed the difference in how she was being treated by reporters. While they asked her teammates about their abilities on the field, Pickett was answering questions about her arm. It was in the wake of that frustration that her parents helped her see the experience from a different perspective – that through her platform, she can reach so many while serving as an inspiration for those like her.
“I had never met another person with one arm. My parents didn’t have anyone to reach out to and it was all just me and my family trying to figure it out. I realized that I could be that person for people.”
Episode 2 – Historically: Madison Hammond
Angel City FC defender Madison Hammond is an inspirational example of how being true to who you are can make a difference. Growing up in an athletic family, Hammond was always encouraged in sports, but it was her heritage that encouraged her to stand up, be heard and know that the power of her past is always with her. It also led her to become the first Native American to play in the NWSL.
Following her mom’s example of “working for it is worth it,” Hammond was a starter and all-ACC academic during all four years at Wake Forest University. After graduating, she was drafted by the OL Reign in Seattle and in front of her mom and sister made history with her first step onto the field.
Hammond explains, “Historically indigenous populations have had to undergo a lot of being swept under the rug, not really being considered as a part of American society in general. And so, it is really important now to be able to add to that conversation, as to ‘I am a real person. I am in this space now, and if you care about this space then hopefully you can care about my experiences as well.’”
Watch the game. Change the game.
Showing support for women’s sports is important. That’s why Ally has committed to an equal media investment in women’s and men’s sports over the next five years and launched the “Watch the Game. Change the Game.” campaign aimed at rallying viewership of women’s sports. No matter where you’re watching – at the stadium, on tv or online – when you watch the game, you change the game.