Featuring: Jordan Angeli
Level Player: Professional
College: Santa Clara University
Teams: Washington Spirit
1. How do you feel about the way female athletes are portrayed in the media?
I think there have been great steps taken in the way female athletes are portrayed in the media…do I think we still have far to go? Absolutely. I think the challenge with this lies in us too. Am I proud to be an athlete, the rough tough not so pretty side of sweat and tears? You better believe it. But do I also like to show my feminine side, dress up and feel like a girl? Yes. What I think is hard is merging these two ideas. I think it is also a great advantage we have as females. We can be tough/athletic and also feminine/beautiful at the same time or at completely different times. Is there an issue when we are constantly only portraying the prettiest or skinniest athletes in different forms of media (TV commercials and print ads). There lies the issue. Men in athletics hardly have to deal with the idea if they are “handsome enough”, but females do. If you aren’t “pretty enough” you won’t get the sponsorship you could very well deserve solely due to that fact. I just don’t believe men in sports have to deal with those same issues. This needs to change. By valuing the athletic abilities of someone over their looks, this is where the media could help improve stereotypes on what a male or female athlete looks like…every single person on this planet is different, so it’s time we recognize that with how we market to society in the media.
2. Do you think there are positive role models for young athletes to look up to? If yes, who? If no, why not?
There are hundreds of positive female role models for young athletes to look up to. The problem is, a lot of these female athletes are not given the exposure in the media that male athletes are. Men athletes are talked about on ESPN or FOX Sports 1…but what about the female athletes who donate their time at children’s hospitals, who have started their own non-profit organizations, who volunteer to coach teams as a mentor. I can name so many women that I would be proud for my future kids to look up to. My hope is by the time I have kids who are searching for their role models, the TV will be plastered with stories of all the great ways the women in the NWSL, and other leagues, are contributing to society.
3. If you had one piece of advice to give to a young female athlete, what would it be?
My advice would be to be true to yourself. You are you for a reason, and that is a great person to be. Strive to be the best woman you can be…strong, dedicated, supportive, faithful, genuine, weird, grateful and kind. When you deny the world of who you really are, you will only be hurting yourself and that process can be painful. Be you. And appreciate the same qualities in others.
4. How important is the mental/psychological game in sports?
To me, this is the most important side of the game. You will never accomplish what you desire without having mental toughness. Read books, visualize yourself succeeding, and create affirmations that re-focus you to positive thoughts during tough situations. The more you keep your brain in shape, the easier you can get through tough situations.
5. How strong are you? and how do stereotypical images of what the female body should look like make you feel? Do you think you would feel or act differently if those stereotypes did not exist?
Well if you saw my little legs, it doesn’t look like I am strong. But I think I am a very strong person. I think that is the coolest part of strength…everyone can be strong in their own way. As a soccer player, I always wanted to “look stronger.” I am tall and not very muscular so I would always look at my teammates and wish I had their calves or arms or abs. I don’t really think that’s the stereotype we get in the media. We see a lot of females who are skinny modeling athletic gear. However, I realize that we are all human. In one way or another, we all want what we don’t have. I learned to love my strong and lean frame for all the hard work it was able to perform day in and day out.
6. What makes a strong female athlete?
Confidence and belief in oneself.
I am not talking about a overly confident “I am better than you” attitude. I am talking about a belief in your ability to push yourself, to accomplish what you dream of, to challenge the standards, and the confidence to pick yourself up when you, and others (your teammates), fall short. Belief is an x-factor. Something only you can take away from yourself. What made me strong was my belief in myself was unwavering. I never was out there to prove people wrong, I was always out there to prove to myself that I could. I believed in me and my “why” for playing more then others didn’t believe in me. If you can find this, you will feel your true strength. A strength that is beyond the weights…a strength in who you are.
7. Describe a moment that has defined your success as an athlete. What attributes/characteristics were most important to your success?
My career was blessed with many highlights. Experiences I never thought I, little ol’ Jordan Angeli from Lakewood, Colorado, would get to be a part of. I will never talk those down but I think my success as an athlete is defined by my resilience and persistence to pursue my dreams in the face of adversity. I was not given the challenge of overcoming 1 ACL injury, I was given the challenge of overcoming 3…all on the same knee. When the 3rd injury happened, I not only cried because I knew what I had done, I cried because I knew what I might have to give up. My first love – soccer. I took my time rehabbing making sure everything was right and I would be able to be a mobile person again let alone a soccer player. I never took the idea of getting back on the field out of my mind but I knew it was a long stretch…especially at the highest level available for women professionally in the US. But with belief, persistence, and faith in the plan God had me on, I made it back to the field, playing in the NWSL and scoring a goal in my 2nd season back against the best goalkeeper in the world. Never give up on what you believe your path is. That is what I believe defines my success as an athlete.
8. How has failure played a part in your training and career? How has it helped you to succeed?
Failure. I really don’t look at failure the way the world seems to. I always have seen the growth in the process of failing. From a missed shot in training to losing a game, there is always something to improve. How do I find success in this shooting technique so I don’t keep sailing my shots over the crossbar? How do I study the opposing team in order to shut down their midfield and not lose the game the way we did last time? Is it failure if you don’t accomplish something the first, second, third time? No way. It is only failure if you choose not to try. It is your choice in how you respond to failure, and I chose to use it to learn and get better every day.
9. How do you feel about the color pink commonly being associated with female athletic apparel?
Honestly, I haven’t thought about this before. I think Pink is a color that represents many things, one of those being Breast Cancer awareness. I was always a fan of when we got to wear pink jerseys and action them off for awareness because it made me feel like we were helping others through our support, physically and financially. I think apparel has changed so much in the last few years that there is always a plethora of color choices for whatever you are looking for. I think if you choose to buy and wear pink apparel that is great because you have that choice. And if pink weren’t a color females wanted to wear, they wouldn’t buy it and then companies wouldn’t sell the color choice. To me that is all personal opinion.
10. Do you think an equality issue still exists between men’s and women’s sports? If so, what are the most glaring inequalities, and how to we bridge this gap?
There are huge inequalities between men’s and women’s sports and I hope that we can continue to knock down the barriers that lie between the sports. The hardest part is advertising money through different media outlets especially television. This is where the catch-22 comes in…companies don’t want to spend advertising money on teams/female sports unless they are filling thousands of seats/have TV exposure (not filling seats but getting thousands of impressions with every game/race/match). However, without the exposure on TV and the sponsors, how will anyone ever know we are out there working just as hard (if not harder) then men athletes to play our sports. In order to bridge the gap of the financial differences between genders, we have to get people to come watch us play, we have to get consistent TV exposure on big networks, and we have to produce a product on the field that is worthy for all that exposure. Lastly, we have to support one another. We need to promote one another on game days by going to WNBA games, NWHL games, golfing events, tennis matches, etc. We need the biggest names in our sport to promote the ones who are doing just as great things but not getting the exposure. Really truly having each other’s backs, supporting each other in our passions on and off the field. If we don’t have each other’s backs, how do we expect the rest of the country/world to support us.
11. Tell us about your life now and how being involved in sports has shaped who you are today.
Life now is much different then it has been in the last 20 years. I recently hung up my boots for good, feeling proud and satisfied about how much I learned, accomplished, and all the lives I got to be a part of in my career. I am now continuing to chase my dreams in the form of sports broadcasting. I was blessed with the opportunity to experience the highs and lows of professional athletics…I appreciate athlete’s stories about how they got to the highest level and what they overcame to get there. I want to help share these stories with the world and bring light to some of the greatest stories in sports. This is a dream I have had for a long time, and just like my dream to be a professional soccer player, I will relentlessly pursue it because I know how amazing it is to live out something you are passionate about.
Soccer has taught me so many lessons throughout my relationship with the sport: persistence, humility, integrity, patience, acceptance, determination, and passion. I know these core values I have learned will benefit me in all the areas I hope to excel in in life (relationship, family, motherhood, and business). I will forever be grateful for the sport of soccer and the person it molded me to be.
12. Anything else you would like to add.
I recently started a company to help those going through or who have gone through an ACL injury. As I mentioned, I spent 4 years of my life rehabilitating from my 3 ACL injuries and was enlightened to some amazing truths in the process:
- If you have torn your ACL, you are so supportive to people who are going through the process currently. You want to help and inspire them in their journey. Also, whenever you see someone with similar scars on their knee, you are automatically bonded to them, appreciating and knowing they have overcome what you have too.
- You go to physical therapy multiple times a week, working your body back into shape, but there is nothing out there to support you in the mental battles that come up.
For these reasons, I wanted to bring together this community of people in a special, concrete way.
theACLclub is an exclusive club in sports bringing together a community to support, empower, and inspire athletes in persevering through the challenges and triumphs of the ACL journey.
If you have torn your ACL or know someone who has, spread the word so we can all be proud to show our scars and share the strength we have gained in the process with one another.