#ECNLAYW | ANGELA HUCLES
RICHMOND, Va. (January 6, 2015) – The 2014-15 ECNL season is dedicated to celebrating the Amazing Young Women that have helped mold this league into the top female youth soccer platform in the world. As part of the campaign, ECNL is encouraging amazing young women to share their stories.
Angela Hucles had a stellar soccer career, playing at the University of Virginia and helping the US Women’s National Team win two Olympic Gold Medals. She recently took over the reigns as President of the Women’s Sports Foundation, where she has been on the board. The ECNL caught up with Angela to learn more about what she is involved in nowadays.
Q: What is your fondest childhood memory?
A: Orange slices and Capri Suns at soccer games
Q: What is your biggest fear?
A: Not meeting my potential
Q: How old were you when you started playing soccer?
A: 7 years old
Q: Coffee of Tea?
A: Coffee, but I love a good green tea
Q: Who is your soccer idol?
A: I’ve never had a soccer idol, however, I was always enthralled by the US Women’s National Team and looked up to them and what they represented.
Q: Where did you go to college?
A: University of Virginia
Q: What did you major in?
Q: How old were you when you first made the national team?
A: the youth national team (U-20; which was the only other national team at the time) I was 18, the full national team I was 21 or 22.
Q: What was your first paying non-soccer job?
A: Ferguson Enterprises, a heating & cooling/plumbing company that I started in their management-training program after college.
Q: What is one thing you wish you knew when you were 20?
A: That no matter who you are, how old you are, or where you are, each passing year provides us with challenges and opportunities. The way we react to both plays a major factor in how we feel about ourselves, and how happy we are in life. And patience is everything.
Q: My favorite USWNT memory was _________.
A: The beep test…ok, that’s a joke! I would have to say the Olympic experience, both years I competed (2004, 2008). The energy of that event is incredible from start to finish.
Q: In three words or less, describe your soccer career:
A: Phenomenal. And I use that one word, not just because of the level that I made it to in my career, but I’ve had some of the best experiences, memories and friendships because of my career in the sport.
Q: What is your favorite season (spring/summer/fall/winter) and why?
A: I love the fall. I love the colors, the crispness of the air, and it reminds me of playing college soccer at UVA…wahoowa!
Q: What is something most people do not know about you?
A: I am still hurt by the time that my kindergarten class put Tom the Turtle in the creek…and he swam away. I didn’t know he wouldn’t swim back.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” By Mahatma Ghandi
Q: Who is the best soccer player in your eyes?
A: The player who doesn’t necessarily win all the time, but understands the entire game, each position, but plays her role, no matter what that role is, to the best of her ability.
Q: What is in your purse at this very moment?
A: Gum, business cards, lip gloss, two pens, one pencil, and a Clipper’s ticket game stub.
Q: If could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would you chose and why?
A: Mahatma Ghandi; I’d love to hear him speak and get his perspective on where the world is now and what we can do to continue to make it better.
Q: How did you first get involved with the foundation?
A: I was first introduced to the Foundation by my former teammate and captain, Julie Foudy. She was at the time the President of the WSF and she told us about them and a few of us from the national team attended their Annual Salute they hold in NY each October.
Q: What change do you want to instill on the world?
A: Because sports has played such an incredibly major role in my life, I’m dedicated to supporting athletes from start to finish. Whether that be an ambassador of the game of soccer and helping to grow the game, supporting young athletes to stay involved in sports and providing really cool opportunities and programs for them, and also helping athletes whether it be in high school, college, or professionally prepare for life once they aren’t playing their sport anymore.
Q: What three words best describe you?
A: Caring, approachable, loyal
Q: So tell us, what are you up to these days?
A: I’m a consultant for sports clubs, soccer commentator and I started a sports leadership brand called, Empowerment Through Sport. One part is a sports leadership conference for girls, parents, and coaches called Empowerment Through Sport Leadership Series (ETSLS).
Q: When you stopped playing, what jobs did you explore?
A: Once I retired I went into real estate and got my license and practiced residential real estate, and then worked for a commercial real estate firm.
Q: Did you have any idea what you wanted to do?
A: I didn’t know specifically, except that I knew I loved real estate and enjoyed the little bit that I had learned and studied before going into it professionally. It’s something that I talk to current athletes about in helping them prepare for transitioning out of sports. It’s always good to have a plan, even if it changes down the road.
Q: What drove you to start the Empowerment Through Sport Leadership Series?
A: I believe that sports can do wonderful things for people. Not only are there so many health benefits to playing sports, both physically and emotionally, but sports is such a wonderful reflection of life. I wanted to provide an opportunity to get more people excited about sports, meet their sheroes and role models to have conversations with them, and help guide those who want more answers to questions as they navigate the sports world.
Q: Tell us more about the ETSLS:
A: ETSLS is about identifying those ways that we can take lessons from sports and use them to apply in life. It’s an energetic day hearing from sports leaders and experts, where girls leave feeling super pumped to take on the world, but they also have ideas and plans on how to actually go after what they want and put it into action. It’s also an opportunity to bring the support system, and the daily encouragers, of the coaches and parents, to provide more tools for them as well. It’s incredible to see what amazing things take place after the participants go back to their schools and communities. It’s not about making new leaders out of these girls, but it’s about helping the girls see that they are already leaders in their own way.
Q: How has soccer helped prepare you?
A: Soccer has prepared me for life, taught me about myself, formed friendships that I will have with me forever, and gave me the confidence and self-awareness that I need when I face obstacles, knowing that I can get through anything. It’s been a vehicle that has brought my family closer together, and it’s been another language that I can speak when I travel the world and meet new people. The skills that I’ve learned from the soccer pitch are far beyond playing a one-touch shot on goal after a nicely laid pass back.
Q: Remember when people would say, “what you learn on the soccer field will help you in life off the field”…have you ever had an “ah-ha” moment?
A: I feel like I have ah-ha moments daily when it comes to this. The fact that I’ve been able to be in so many different situations around different personalities and feel comfortable I feel is a direct representation of what I’ve learned from soccer. To be able to jump confidently into a completely foreign professional industry of real estate after I retired from soccer was something that I took away from playing the game. When I was younger and had to study, prepare for homework and tests, while also preparing for a big game, dealing with the pressure of making a kick from the penalty spot was similar to the pressure and nervousness of public speaking; all of these things are part of my daily life, and playing soccer was absolutely the best preparation for it all.
About Elite Clubs National League: The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) was founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States through: (i) Improving the competitive environment through creation of a true national competitive league; (ii) Improving the process for identifying elite female soccer players for the U.S. Soccer youth national teams through a systematic scouting and identification program based on national competitions; and (iii) improving the daily training environment at top female youth soccer clubs through developing best practices and training and organizational guidelines for its member clubs. The ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and is sponsored by Nike Soccer.