Erica Porter Recognized as June ECNL S’Hero of the Month
RICHMOND, VA (June 20, 2017) – The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) today announced Erica Porter as the June S’Hero of the Month award recipient for individual and community leadership. As part of the Amazing Young WomenTM movement, the ECNL is sharing the stories of S’Heroes who are role models for our nation’s young female athletes who are balancing their drive to become elite athletes with the pressures of fitting in with social peers.
S’Heroes are a part of the Amazing Young WomenTM campaign designed to showcase strong, successful women who embody the fact that drive on the soccer field translates into life lessons. The ECNL is calling on all who love sports to join them in supporting youth female athletes as they recognize their own potential, define their individual paths to success, and prepare to be our next generation of leaders using the hashtag #UNSHAKABLE.
Studies have shown that driving factors behind girls dropping out of sports include limited exposure to the inspirational journeys trail blazed by positive role models, and social stigma; where player traits that are so valued by teams are often not promoted for young girls. By age 14, girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys 1. The Amazing Young Women campaign encourages young female athletes to embrace their competitive nature, and prove they cannot be shaken from the path to their dreams. Those recognized as S’Heroes have taken a spirit of leadership and inspiration from the field, and have demonstrated that it’s not just about a phase of your life, but a way of life.
“The focus of an elite athlete is to be the best when you compete, striving to raise the bar every time you play,” said Jen Winnagle, ECNL Commissioner. “The ECNL provides a platform for young women to embrace their talents both on and off the field, helping to develop and motivate these amazing athletes to reach new heights through all phases of life.”
S’Hero – Erica Porter
On any given day, you can find Erica Porter in her gym in Chesterfield, Virginia leading and inspiring groups through workouts, sporting an Endorphasm shirt and a smile on her face. Porter is a current professional wrestler, book author, personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach, mother and entrepreneur. At the age of 42 she is living her dream. Porter competes quarterly in the Women of Wrestling (WOW) in Los Angeles and is a World Champion, and in her day-to-day life she spends her time inspiring others to live their best life.
Porter was born in Guatemala, but moved to Columbia shortly after she was born because of a massive earthquake that devastated the small Central American country. At the age of four, she moved to the United States with her family where she has lived the majority of her life.
Porter grew up as a gymnast with the dream of making it to the Olympics, but an injury halted that dream before she had the opportunity to compete at the highest level. She began searching for a new passion, and while team sports did not fit the mold she was looking for, she found the world of dance and instantly fell in love. Her focus quickly shifted to becoming a professional dancer. Porter was adamant about pursuing this as her career, but there are many demons lurking in the world of dance that she faced head on before determining the true purpose of her life.
She continued to pursue dance in college at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she studied dance, business and biology with an emphasis in kinesiology. Porter was quickly confronted by the darker side of dance while studying there, in regards to the stereotypical body image of a dancer. She was told she did not fit the mold, and would not succeed because of it, which really tested her spirit.
Throughout her adolescence, she had an unhealthy relationship with food. While other young women, particularly dancers, in her life turned to diets and even eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, Porter instead would overeat. After overeating, she would then compulsively workout rigorously to offset her eating. It was not until she was in her 20s that she started to explore the reasons why she was participating in this type of behavior, making the decision to confront ‘the monkey on her back.’
Instead of diving deeper into her bad habits, she developed a better understanding of why, and decided to change her life. It was through personal training that she began to shift her habits from bad to good. This journey was the inspiration for her book, “Eat That Monkey: Now Is the Time to Change Your Life!” which she published in 2007.
“I came to realize that it is not about your body, it is all about your mind and who you are as a person.” Porter said about her journey to combat her inner demons. “I realized this simple truth through my own torturous experience, spending countless hours, days, weeks, months and years dissecting my own personal behavior to get to the root of my issues.”
The book delves into her own personal journey of overcoming her compulsive overeating and realizing that any behavior can be changed with a willingness to change it, but first you must understand the cause of the behavior. As Porter strived toward improving her life and becoming the healthiest version of herself, she discovered a life-changing workout in the form of a boot camp style class. When in her early 20s, she first experienced what she has now coined an endorphasm.
“At the end of the workout, I was like whatever I just experienced was something intense, gratifying and it was the first time in my life that I did not think about what my body looked like. Instead the voice inside my head was saying ‘I just did that!’ And in that very moment, I came up with the term endorphasm,” Porter said about the workout that became the inspiration behind the word which is attached her pride and joy. Her gym in Chesterfield, Virginia.
In trying to describe the feeling she experienced during and after this workout, she realized the intense endorphin rush and overwhelming happiness in accomplishing every activity. It was truly a life changing moment, shifting gears from no self-esteem and poor self-image to respecting her body and accepting what and who she saw in the mirror.
During this epiphany moment, Porter gained knowledge of an audition for a new superhero show. While living in California, she happened upon this information through friends and clients, and decided it was an opportunity she had to attempt. When Porter arrived, she was immediately intimated by the other talent interested in this role. Just when she was about to walk away, a producer asked her to stay. Although she will never know the reason why she was sought out, three weeks later she was offered a job as a professional wrestler in WOW, and the rest is history.
Porter began her role with WOW where she transforms into Jungle Grrrl, a character that embodies many of Porter’s real-life characteristics. She is no-nonsense but at the same time extremely caring, honest and empathic. These are the characteristics that Porter brings into her gym every day. While WOW is one of her many ventures, it is something she enjoys on the side. Her true passion is her gym and inspiring others to transform their bodies and minds through fitness.
Porter’s daily life revolves around her gym located in Virginia, where she now resides. She leads group fitness classes once or twice a day, all of which are inspired by her own experiences. She gets out of bed every morning, puts on her workout clothes and leads her clients through workouts with the hope to leave a positive impact on everyone there. She not only aspires to help change the lives of her clients, but she also routinely partners with community organizations to raise money and awareness for causes close to her heart.
Porter has overcome many obstacles to become a strong woman who inspires others on a daily basis. Her desire to continue to spread her positivity, paired with her compassion for those in the community earned Erica Porter the ECNL S’Hero of the Month recognition. Good luck to Porter as she continues her mission to use fitness as a vessel to enact positive change on others.
Thank you Erica Porter for being an Amazing Young Woman. Your path is unique and we thank you for sharing your story to inspire the next generation.
To learn more about Erica’s journey through life, in her own words, watch the video below.
About Amazing Young WomenTM: The Amazing Young Women campaign is a dynamic platform of online and local market activations that showcase and celebrate female role models offering an aspirational focus for all female athletes and teens as they prepare to be our next generation of leaders. The ECNL is calling on all of the nation’s women to join the movement to celebrate the endless potential of today’s girls.
Women of all ages can share their personal moments of inspiration where they defined what it is to be #UNSHAKABLE through elevated stories and social media. Every share and submission helps drive a movement that celebrates the power of what it is to be a girl today.
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 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.
For media enquiries:
- Girls drop-out at different rates depending on where they live. Sabo, D. and Veliz, P. (2008). Go Out and Play: Youth Sports in America. East Meadow, NY: Women’s Sports Foundation.