910. A Day in the Life: What's It Really Like to Be a Women's Professional Soccer Player?
“If you want to be a professional women’s soccer player, you have to know that there are going to be a lot of unknowns, a lot of ups and downs. We love the game and we’re trying to help the game grow. Hopefully later down the line we will be able to say that whoever is joining our league, they’re going to be well off, they’re going to be well taken care of, and eventually the financial side of things will catch up. We are doing this for the future generations that want to be professional soccer players.”
Abby Smith is a Professional Soccer Player in the National Women’s Soccer League based in the U.S. She is in her 5th overall season and her third with the Utah Royals FC located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Abby grew up in Dallas, Texas, playing for the Dallas Texans Soccer Club. In her youth and into her professional career, Abby has been able to participate in the United States National Team at all levels, including U15, U23 and most recently with the Senior National team.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“I was so fortunate that one of my coaches on the soccer team at the University of Texas was Kristine Lilly. She is one of the most legendary and accomplished athletes in women’s soccer history and the only person that has played for the United States over four different decades. She competed in three Olympic Games and won three Olympic medals. Because she played professionally for many years for the Boston Breakers, she was able to connect me with their coaches and that’s how I ended up getting drafted in my senior year by their team.”
The Most Powerful Lessons and Experiences?
1. “My mother and father were my best friends growing up. As an only child these two caring and loving people focused their energies making sure that I had every opportunity to be exposed to as many chances to grow and learn about myself as humanly possible, which included letting me at the age of six join my first soccer team.”
2. “I was fortunate to be a member of the U.S. Youth Soccer Association so because of my participation I was able to attend many different camps—as many as 10—and play in front of dozens of coaches from across the country. Starting in the 8th grade I began to get a bit of recognition and ultimately picked the University of Texas because of the quality of their program, and importantly because it was only a three-hour or so drive from my home.”
3. “I gravitated towards being a goalkeeper because I liked that I could catch the ball with my hands and play it with my feet. And at a young age it’s hard to tell a kid that diving around on the ground isn’t fun! While the goalkeeper is the last line of defense and we can sometimes save the day—to keep a tie or secure a win—the position is just one part of a total team effort of eleven players on your team.”
4. “Officially signing a contract with the Boston Breakers in April 2016, was certainly one of the most exciting moments in my career in professional women’s soccer.”
Connecting With Abby Smith
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Careers: Soccer Player, Sports–Soccer Player