Storelli Presents: The Versatile Midfielder with X-Ray Vision
Jun 15, 2017
Introducing the third installment in a Q&A series that asks the collaborators behind our Women's BodyShield Line about their Secret Weapons.
Name: Shawna Gordon
Current team: Kicks to the Pitch, formerly Sky Blue FC
Shawna Gordon is a Californian pro who played for teams as far as Australia and Sweden. She blends creativity with an unstoppable curiosity for trying new things. Here she reveals a few of her Secret Weapons and how we can improve women’s soccer in the U.S. by having a vision that’s bigger than the pitch.
What Inspired You to Start Playing Soccer?
I started very young – 4 years old – I have two older sisters who played and naturally I wanted to follow them. I was surrounded with soccer growing up, but like many girls then (and even now), I too wasn’t aware of the opportunities available for female players until a later stage.
What Challenges Have You Faced In Reaching For Your Dreams?
Being an athlete takes a lot of dedication. It’s a very difficult thing to accomplish for anyone, not to mention, there are more obstacles you’ll face being a female athlete. It’s not glamorous. It’s physically and mentally draining day after day.
I’ve played here in the States as well as in Australia and Sweden so I have some insight about how clubs differ between countries, but the hardest part was having to sacrifice time with family and friends. I'm someone who can make friends and adapt pretty quickly to new surroundings but when you live thousands of miles away, in a different time zone, it's more difficult to stay connected to those who matter the most.
Do You See Any Changes In Women's Soccer Today?
There’s a huge gap that we’re starting to bridge between men’s and women’s soccer. Things won’t magically be different overnight, and we have to be realistic with that, but there’s a shift happening.
It's extremely difficult to make a living as a pro year round with the salaries given in the league so it forces players to either rely on parents for help or work after and sometimes during the season. There needs to continue to be steady positive change for players to want to stay in the league.
The sport is starting to recognize the issue we face, unequal pay, sub-par facilities, field conditions, etc. Social media is a huge contributor in exposing our reality. Women with platforms are starting to really voice their opinions more and that’s starting to make a real difference in bringing more attention to women’s soccer.
Male and female players have the same work load on the pitch but female players work harder off the pitch to attract more fans and make people aware that a professional league exists.
What Do You Do Off the Pitch?
I do a handful of things. I've been training kids in the off season for the last 5 years so building that business is a main focus as well as working for a company called Kicks To The Pitch, which is a futbol and lifestyle media outlet. We blend culture and futbol through both our creative and agency side. I'm the women's content lead working mostly with the creative side. I coordinate and style shoots, cover events and do some on-camera stuff.
This is a perfect mix for me because I have an interest and background in fashion so I’m able to bring these influences together to try and grow the game in an unconventional way. I also do commercial/ print work when my schedule allows as well as freelance styling gigs.
What Do You Bring to the Pitch?
I’m a finesse type of player – I’m not your stereotypical big, fast, strong American athlete. Growing up I played with an older age group and was extremely small compared to my teammates and opponents so it forced me to become technical and get creative at a young age. I also believe sport and life are relative. So I approach them in the same way.
I love combining. But that takes having players around you on the same page which isn’t always easy to find. But when it clicks it sure is fun and pretty to watch. I feel I’m most effective as a Midfielder but I’ve played both winger and outside-back at the professional level.
What's the Mental Cost of Getting Injuries?
Injuries are frustrating and never come at a good time, but they’re inevitable. They set you back physically, so mentally you have to keep going forward.
During college I played 90 straight games and after that everywhere I played I had some kind of injury. Nothing too major but each time set me back. The mental cost of an injury can't be overlooked and needs to be dealt with properly otherwise it might affect your game when you get back on the pitch.
Once you're healthy and you're good to go you have to go full out and not hold back in any way.
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