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Episode #39

Changing the Game

with SoccerGrlProbs

26 Feb, 2021 · Soccer

The founders of SoccerGrlProbs, a viral social media platform turned lifestyle brand, discuss how they've endeavored to empower the women's sports community in the fight for equal pay and increasing sports media coverage for women athletes.

Transcript

SoccerGrlProbs

Stef

 Welcome to the Voice In Sport podcast. I'm your host, Stef Strack, the founder of Voice In Sport. As an athlete, professional, and mom, I have spent the last 20 years advocating for women and innovating across the sports industry. Now I want to bring more visibility to female athletes and elevate their voice. At Voice In Sport, we share untold stories from female athletes to inspire us all, to keep playing and change more than just the game.

 Today we are welcoming the founders of Soccer Grl Probs to kick off a new series, highlighting female founded sports companies. In today's episode, we host all three of the founders of Soccer Grl Probs, Shannon Fay, Alanna Locast and Carly Beyar.  While playing division one soccer at Fairfield University, these three college teammates have a unique story and how the love of their sport changed their careers. What started off as a simple Twitter account used as a comedic outlet, quickly and unexpectedly went viral and their followers grew by the thousands. They transformed their social media platforms into a business and lifestyle brand in the years that followed. Today, Soccer Grl Probs has 350,000 followers on Instagram, and a total of over 39 million views on YouTube. They have apparel, a podcast, a recently launched book, and now offer female focused soccer camps and an educational online program.   Today on the podcast we discuss building the Soccer Grl Probs' business, and the challenges and excitement that came with their experience as young entrepreneurs. The Soccer Grl Probs founders will share about their transitions from college soccer, to the professional world, how they've been empowering female athletes, every step of the way, and what we can all do to help support. We hope you enjoy this episode, so let's kick it off. Welcome Carly, Shannon, and Alana to the Voice In Sport Podcast.

Carly

Thank you so much for having us. 

 Stef

 It's amazing to have all three of you guys, and I love your story. I'm a big fan. I was a soccer player. Although a little bit older now, I can relate to some of those things.   I would love to take the time today and kind of unpack how you built Soccer Grl Probs. So, let's start from the beginning, how it started back in 2011, in 2012. We know you guys were all playing division one soccer at the time, and that's when your business started to go viral. But I don't know if everybody really knows the ins and outs of how it actually started. So, Carly, I would love for you to tell us what was that moment that inspired you to start Soccer Grl Probs. 

Carly

 We have a very unconventional story. All three of us were on the Fairfield women's soccer team and it was during preseason in 2011. So, picture us, it was after like the second session of the day, we were exhausted, we had bone bruises, ice packs all over our bodies and we were all together in a room with our team. And at the time, this is when Twitter was kind of getting bigger. So, we were all just joking around about the problems we were having and then saying out loud, hashtag Soccer Grl Probs. We found that it was a great way for our team to relate to one another. And we were all laughing about it and just looked at each other and we were like, let's just make an account on Twitter that we can all follow and laugh at throughout the season. And so, we created @SoccerGrlProbs on Twitter, and before we knew it, after a couple of weeks, it started growing like crazy. And it’s kind of led to people asking us, you know, you guys should make a YouTube video. It would be so funny. So, we had no idea what we were doing. We grabbed Alana's mom's iPad and ran around campus, just filming and we put it out on YouTube with our first video shit soccer girl say, excuse my French. Overnight we hit a million hits on YouTube. We realized that we really had something special when it spread so fast in the soccer community. 

Stef

 What an incredible story. And I love that it just like hit off like that and just like a rocket. So, what was the language do you remember some of those initial first tweets?

 Carly

Definitely. So, Alana and Shannon, you can chime in if I'm missing any, but we would say things like I own more cleats than heels. Another thing I can't, I have soccer. That's like the most common saying amongst all soccer players. You can never do anything because you always have soccer practice or a game. We would also say that moment of severe depression when your pre-wrap breaks during the game. It's so funny.  It's certainly a language that soccer girls can relate to. Like everyone can relate to those things when they're playing.

Stef

  I love just how raw and real you guys are with the comments. Because sometimes I feel like, especially now with social media, people are just so careful about what they say and how they look in the photos. And you guys are just throwing it out there like it is. And I bet that's a big reason why young girls relate to what you do. You gained a huge following then you sort of moved from social media to developing merchandise. Dealing with merchandise as part of NCAA, you can't make your own apparel at that time, due to the rules. So how did that journey happen?

Alanna

 I happened to graduate a little bit before Carly and Shannon did cause I'm older. So, I was no longer under NCAA rules. And really from the start we were going with what people wanted. Like they wanted funny videos, so we made funny videos. And then they were like," Hey, you should put this on a shirt". So, we were playing with the idea. But then once I graduated NCAA rules, we're no longer applying to me. So, I incorporated the business and we came out with three ridiculously bright and obnoxious t-shirts. I mean, it was our first time doing any of this kind of stuff. And we made this questionable website that we always joke, we don't know how anyone trusted putting their credit card information into it. Cause it was just not professional looking cause we were just trying to learn as we went. But we ended up putting the shirts up and they sold out immediately. It actually crashed the website within an hour of it being up. So, it was really a big moment for us kind of realizing, wow okay, if people don't just want to laugh at what we're doing, they want to feel like they're a part of something, you know? So, it was a big moment of awakening for all of us, I think. 

Stef

 And so, what were on those first few t-shirts? Do you remember what they said?

Shannon

 They were so we're. So, it was like highlighter yellow, neon pink, and like this crazy electric blue, like we look like safety cones, the colors that we were wearing. Yeah, there was "I can't, I have soccer", "I own more cleats than heels" and then "The things we do for the game you love", which we joke is really a very pivotal saying for our company.

Stef

 And why is it such a pivotal saying for you? 

Alanna

I think because, if you're not in the worlds of playing at a high level or playing for a serious club team or something like that, you don't really get it. Like just how many things you're sacrificing, how many friends' birthday parties or proms you're missing or the way you have to spend all summer having terrible tan lines. And you look ridiculous in a bathing suit. Like all these little things that we joke about problems that we endured because we love the game so much. So, you know, it's just the saying really just holds true in all aspects. It's a lot of sacrifices, but everyone loves the game and is so invested in it that it's all just worth it.

Stef

And you know, what I love is that your background Alana, you studied biology and pre-med in college. You did not study apparel, manufacturing, and design. So, tell us how you actually got started. How did you get those first few t-shirts made? How did you fund it? Where did you go? Did you go local? Did you go overseas? How'd you make it happen?

 Alanna

I was very fortunate that my mother kind of ran all the apparel for schools on Long Island. Like, you know, when you can buy your high school's gear and the shop or whatever, like she did that for a lot of the high schools on Long Island. So, I used the woman that she did most of her screen printing for. So, it was another small business and a woman owned business too, which was cool. Just literally it was typewriter font on a shirt. So, it wasn't even like this artistic, crazy thing or anything that was too complicated, but it was great. I remember we literally had, I think I just put the money out for the shirts when we first got them. Cause maybe we got like 300 shirts. But they sold out so fast that within an hour we were like cashflow positive of it. So, we never really had to then reinvest our own money into it, which was really a blessing for all of us.

Stef

 I mean, there's a lot of local manufacturing partners, also in the U S. People don't realize you can get T shirts printed, you can go to agencies that actually will help you with your product creation. There’re so many ways to do it actually and go to market with apparel these days that it's a lot easier, but this was back in 2012. So, I think it was pretty impressive that you did that and you, especially with the biology major. 

Alanna

Oh yeah, oh gosh. We all we always joke about how many things we taught ourselves over the past few years, because none of us really had experience in anything from even like using cameras to editing, to just all the backend stuff, all the marketing and media stuff.  We've learned since day one, so never let the fear of not knowing how to do something, hold you back from doing it. Cause you'll figure it out. 

Stef

 So true. If you want to be an entrepreneur that is such an important attribute to have. You can't be afraid of what you don't know, you just have to kind of go out there and start doing it. And I want to talk about some of those areas that you then went a little deeper in. So, Shannon, you know, while Alana was done, with her school, you and Carly were still playing soccer at Fairfield. And during that time, you guys were capturing content, you were making the YouTube videos.  I think content today is just so important for any brand when you're developing your strategy, but that was like front and center to what you were building. So how did you do it? And what advice would you pass on to all the others out there that are creating content?

Shannon

 The timing worked out great that Carly and I were still at school. So, Alana could come up to Fairfield on the weekends, or if she had a day off and we could film with the team.  It was always great because we had inspiration all the time because we were still playing.  We also had our followers always tweeting at us problems that they were having. So, we always had content. It was never a problem of what are we going to film next? It was just how fast; can we get all this content out as we're doing it? My advice would be for anyone who's doing it, just be authentic and be yourselves. We always say that we're not trying to copy anyone else's style. It's just strictly our style and I think that's why it does so well. 

Stef

 So other than having to wait for Alanna to graduate before making the apparel. Were there any other NCAA rules that you had to kind of watch out for when you were capturing all this content?

Shannon

 So, we kind of went with the ask for forgiveness policy there. We weren't sure what we should do. But when we were on the field, we would make sure that we weren't having the scoreboard the back. We would turn our Fairfield shirts inside out, or our practice pinnies on inside out. Our carpet in our locker room was our entire logo on the ground. So, we were just conscious of that. It was also interesting cause our fans so badly wanted to know where we played, and it was always them guessing and like all over the country, they were like, are you guys here? Here? And it wasn't until we would be at games that people would recognize and Carly and I on the fields and we'd be like, oh my gosh, I'm playing against SoccerGrlProbs. But I think our coaches, once it came out where we went to school, it was great publicity for them. It was great for the recruiting process for them because a lot of girls were like, Soccer Grl Probs went to Fairfield. It looks like they're having so much fun. So, the school was so supportive. They helped us get into the entrepreneurship program. We were in fame, which was after school. They helped us publish our first book. So, they've just been a great support system for us. 

Stef

Amazing.  I love those sorts of try and then ask for forgiveness later approach. I think that's generally pretty awesome, especially when you're an entrepreneur and you're trying to figure things out. But were there any moments where the Fairfield school or coaches or trainers didn't support you guys?

Shannon

Well, I think at the beginning, we actually didn't know if they were really following us on everything. Especially when, when it was just Twitter. So, there was one moment. We were coming back on the bus from an away game and we had lost and didn't play very well at all. And the coaches got us pizza, but they didn't get us anything to drink. So, we were drinking the water out of our ice bags. And so, we tweeted that, and then the next day at practice, our coach came up to Carly and me. And were like, " Oh are you guys thirsty"? And we're like, what? He's like, yeah, do you have to drink out of your ice bags. And we're like, Oh no. And then it clicked like, okay, we have to be careful and sensor this. Cause he's looking at everything.

Stef

That's amazing. Oh, my goodness. I'm sure there were others too, that maybe you guys did, but you never actually posted. So, are there any of those that you want to talk about?

Shannon

 We had a bunch of moments. I was going to say where we were like, we wish so badly that we could share this experience. Like out loud, but it would be in our best interest to just keep it to ourselves. 

Carly

 I also just want to point out that there were so many times on campus when we would be filming and people who worked on Fairfield's campus would yell at us because they'd be like, you can't be recording in here. Even if we went to grocery stores in town, you cannot be recording in here. So, we would always be hiding the camera, putting blankets over the cameras, trying to sneak in every which way that we can. Like Shannon said, we never asked for permission. We always ask for forgiveness when we know it's okay for us to do so., But just so many funny memories of us just trying to get by, to do SoccerGrlProbs videos.

Stef

  I love it. 

But there's something to be said about sort of operating like that because it made it authentic and I think that's so awesome. So, I want to go back to the point in your career where, you know, Soccer Grl Probs still hadn't completely taken off. You're still, you know, Carly and Shannon are still in college. Alana is making some apparel in long Island with her mom. Were you fully, going for the entrepreneurial backgrounds where you studying business, finance, marketing in college? Tell us a little bit about what you guys were planning to do coming out of college and what you were studying and Carly, let's start with you.

Carly

 I was a major in communications and a minor in studio art. I loved art and I also had a passion for marketing. My sister at the time was working for Alex and Ani and soul cycle, and I just loved seeing what she was doing. So, I actually ended up interning at her other company that she was working for and learning a lot about the marketing side of things. 

Shannon 

So, my freshman and sophomore year, I was a psych major because I was thinking I was going to do something with. Sports psychology. And then as SoccerGrlProbs continued to grow, I thought maybe I should pivot that. Cause I really did think that maybe something big would come of it. So, I ended up switching my major to come and TV and media and I ended up interning at MTV and Comedy Central and just getting really into doing something with media.

Stef

 Alana, I think we know what you study. But similarly, I guess for you, when you were deep in biology were you thinking, okay, I'm going to be a doctor? What were you thinking? 

 Alanna

 I always loved science. I still am obsessed with science, I'm a big nerd. So, I really love the medical side of things. And as I think we all realize that this business had the potential to be something if we devoted the effort that it needed.  I pivoted a little bit too. I ended up getting a master's in exercise physiology and what we continue to do towards the end of our college career and afterwards has all been things pertaining to the female athlete.  From nutrition to strength and conditioning, to all aspects of the female athlete. So, what we all ended up doing is relevant and we are relating it back to the business every day.  I'm happy that we all pivoted in the way that we did, because it helps us kind of grow individual strengths that we can kind of contribute to the business.

Stef

 Absolutely. You guys are like the power team. I love your backgrounds and what you studied.  So, let's kind of take it back then to that moment where you all decided, okay there's something here. How are we really going to, to get the experience to take this to the next level? So, Shannon let's maybe start with you. You guys were transitioning out of college and you and Carly actually applied for fame, which is now called fuel. Can you tell us a little bit about that decision and what did that do for you guys, becoming part of that program? 

Shannon

 So, I think it was beginning of spring of our senior year, and a local Connecticut network wanted to do a story on us. So, Alana came up and they were filming us. It was the first time we were in front of that many cameras, so it was a little overwhelming but exciting. And one of the videographers mentioned to us, he said, have you guys heard of fame before? I think you would be a perfect fit. We had at that time, no plan on what we were really going to do with Soccer Grl Probs once we graduated. So, we looked into that and we ended up having some mentors in the business school help us get our business plan together, which we didn't have. So that was a big point for us because it really made us understand more about our business and what we could really do with it. We ended up moving into a house together in Fairfield and it was funny. We say like we were working 24 seven, the walls were thin. We were talking at like two in the morning, like, "Hey, what do you think about this"? Everywhere we put all of our apparel in the garage, which the door wouldn't open. So, we climbed through the window, get the apparel, go ship it and then drive to the office, and then go work, and then come home and eat dinner, and talk more and more, and just have like ideas going. So, I think that year was a huge year of growth for us, and we really learned a lot about ourselves and what the business was capable of. 

Stef

 I love that story because I mean, I'm right in the thick of it too, right now, building Voice In Sport. And I have a slightly different situation than you. I'm not living with two of my like amazing girlfriends, but I've got two kids and a husband. And I'm just like, sometimes I wake up at like two in the morning and I'm like trying to shout out my idea to somebody and there's nobody around. So, the fact that you guys have that and that you had that for each other, I think is just so special. So, are you all three still living together now?

Shannon

Would be a reality show if we did. After the program ended, it was a yearlong. We ended up going right to the world cup. Copa 90 a soccer company hired us to film. So, we ended up moving out of the house, going there. And then when we came back, we decided, all right, let's get an office in New York city. And we've been working there for the past five years.

Stef

 That's amazing. Okay, so you're not all living together. But I still think that would be a really fun reality series if we want to make that happen. So, Carly how did attend the entrepreneurship program at Fairfield really helped guide you and help you figure out, okay, what is our business? 

Carly

 It helped us in so many ways. I mean, we are indebted to them because when Soccer Grl Probs happened, we grew an insane following, but had no idea how to monetize it and had no idea how to run a business. So, going there and having all of these professors at Fairfield and people of the town as mentors in different areas like finance, we had accountants, lawyers, we had somebody who knew a lot about inventory systems. We had somebody who was good at marketing and rebranding a logo designer. So, we had all of the support and all these areas where we were like, okay, how do we rebrand? How do we make a proper mission statement? We had no idea how to do that, how to do your taxes. No idea until this program. So, it was honestly so wonderful how willing these, professors were able to spend their time with us to help us become more stable. And I think, you know, one of our goals during that time was okay, let's get to the world cup somehow some way, Shannon had mentioned in 2015, that was our main goal. At that time, we graduated. Let's go to this tournament and try and cover it with our social media. And that's when Copa 90 or Kick TV had reached out to us and once that happened, I think that was a pivotal moment in our growth. Even being there, us networking with all the other soccer influencers and companies was absolutely essential to our growth during that time. So, we're really grateful for fuel or fame because they really set us up for success. 

Stef

You know, it's sometimes it's hard to build something on completely on your own and you don't have to do it on your own. There are a lot of amazing resources out there and people that want to help you succeed.  I think it's just so important asking for help. Raising your hand and being like, I don't know how to do this, can you help me? And so, if you're sitting there and listening to this podcast and you're a young female athlete. I want you to be thinking about, okay, I had that one idea. Why did I say no? Why didn't I follow my passion and maybe go out and do it?  So, let's talk about Alana. I want to go back to you a little bit, what advice would you have for other female athletes in college that are making that transition from college to career. Because maybe the entrepreneurial path isn't for everybody, but that transition can be really hard because you have an identity as a female athlete. It's usually a big part of your life and then you transition.

Alanna

 If you want to stay connected to the athlete in you or the sport part of you, there are ways to stay connected to it and you don't have to feel like you are completely losing a part of yourself. And even if you go into a job that has nothing to do with sports, it's the team environment all over again in a job as well. So, there are aspects of the things that made you great as an athlete that you can carry over into your next job and, treat it the same way. Maybe a little bit less competitive and physically, but you know, the same type of mindset. But I didn't realize really what I wanted to do until I had already graduated. So, for me, a big part of that transition was just staying really open-minded because sometimes you start down a path or you have an idea for yourself, and we're so scared to change it or you know, I've come, I've done two years of this major already, like I might as well just finish it. But you might as well not if it's not going to be what you end up loving.  The person we are as freshmen, when we came into college was not even close to the same people that we were as seniors, our interest change, we learn so much more about ourselves, so learn more about yourself, get to know yourself, find out what you truly, truly love. And it's okay if it's different than what it was last year. And you should stick with whatever you love because you'll end up being a lot more passionate about it. 

Stef

 It's such good advice. I mean, I changed my major three times, so glad I did. I started out as a computer science major and then pre-med, then I got to business. Very few people get to the end of their college experience and they're like, I know exactly what I want to do. It's a journey, right? And I didn't even know some of the jobs that I took at Nike right out of college even existed when I was in school. So, it's a journey and I think being open to pivot is such great advice. So, Shannon, I want to go to you.  After partnering with the brands that you mentioned with the world cup in 2015, Kick TV, and such. How did you really start to think about partnerships, investments and resources? You guys actually went on to Shark Tank. So, tell us a little bit about that process of considering raising money and who to maybe bring on as investors. How was that for the three of you? Because we know it can be pretty tough. A lot of venture capital firms are run by men and the diversification is starting to happen, but the reality is, you're going in there as three female athletes talking about girl problems. So, how did that journey unfold for you?

 Shannon

 I think when we first had the business after college, we were a little weary of who we wanted to have as an investor. And if we were even ready to do so, we had a few males reach out who I don't think knew much about soccer, who said they wanted to invest, and it just never felt like a perfect fit for us. We went down to Davidson College for a business plan competition. And it was funny, it was all teams of guys wearing suits. We had on our Soccer Grl Probs t-shirts. The first day there was a little mixer and all the guys wanted to ask us what we were doing. We told them, they kind of thought it was cute and funny and they're like, "Oh, that's nice". after the first day of presenting, we crushed it. one of the potential investors said to us, what is your reach? Like how much do these girls really care about what you're doing? So, we sent out a tweet with a survey and in seconds on the screen behind us, it was just going and there were hundreds of girls answering their survey in real time. Then every guy in their suit was like, "Oh, wow, they have something here". So, we ended up winning the competition, which was really cool. We won $10,000, which we put right back into the business. And still we weren't sure about the investors.  Was it a perfect fit? And then we thought maybe shark tank would be a way to go. Because it would help us get more eyes on what we're doing. We got so close, they asked us, could you fly out August whatever date? And we didn't make it. But again, it was such a great way for us to learn more about our business, get our business plan stronger.  I think it was just great learning experiences. Overall, we're open to investors, but we definitely want to make sure it's the right thing if we're ever to do it. 

Alanna

 Just to add too, we have a mentor is someone who we really look up to. Andrea Perez who used to work at Nike and now works at Jordan. And we had a phone call with her just to like, talk about the potential of even getting an investor or kind of growing our business and everything. And she's like, who knows it better than you guys? It was just like an awesome moment where she was like you don't need all of that. I'm like, that's not the necessary path that you need to go down. She's like, you guys have done it this far and you know, your business best. Don't be so fast to put that in the hands of someone else. 

Stef

 Andrea, she's a good friend of mine. And we worked together at Nike and love, love that advice because you know, you do know it better than any other male for sure for what you guys are doing. And as soon as you bring on an investor, essentially, you're taking the money, which could be helpful. But you're also going to be shifting the dynamic in the boardroom at the table, making the decisions. And so, I think it's so critically to think through that. Like what's the opportunity cost of taking money? Will it accelerate my business so much? Or will it take the mission of my company in a direction that I'm not really willing for it to go. And it's so important to weigh both of those things. So, I love that you guys have remained independent and I'm excited to see you guys grow from here. And I also just want to comment on the comments that you guys got at that competition. "Cute and "That's nice". I mean, if I had to just sum it up about how certain investors might look at girls' specific businesses You know, it’s a bummer to hear that’s the comment. So, anyone listening to this, if somebody says that to you, brush it off because the best thing you can do is show your success. And obviously you guys did that in a competition and you continue to do it in real life.  It's one thing to set a goal and a mission, start getting your content out there, build your following. But it's another to actually do it right.  I want to talk a little bit to you, Carly, with how you've taken your goals and made them a reality.

Carly

We always shoot our shot. So, it's not crazy for us to email shark tank and follow up and say, should we apply again?  Email people, DM people say yes to everything, all the opportunities that come your way. And then on top of that, I just feel like we pride ourselves on continuing our own education beyond school in certain areas. So, like, I enrolled in a marketing course so that I could help Soccer Grl Probs with our digital courses that we're putting out on Soccer Grl Probs. University. And Alana is a speed trainer and she's a strength and conditioning coach who's certified. So that brings so much value to our fitness courses that we're going to be putting out.  Same thing with Shannon, she's a tier two Equinox instructor and health coach. We all continue our own personal certifications, which helps Soccer Grl Probs bring more to the table and bring more value to the student athletes, because we always say it's the stuff that we wish we had. We did not have the support as athletes, and we want to make mental health, nutrition, all of those areas one less 'Soccer Grl Prob' for these athletes.

Stef

So, what was the hardest lesson that you guys each learned along the way in building this business from the ground up. And Alana, let's start with you.

 Alanna

 It's very interesting that we have gone into things so open-minded and so willing to listen and willing to adapt that we fortunately have not had to learn any tough lessons. We always joke like, Oh, we wish we could go back and know that our following was going to be big and maybe, you know, learn more earlier so that we could have monetized earlier and everything. But when I look back at it, it seems like it happens the way that it was meant to happen. Even if, you know, people are like you missed the while the iron was hot in the beginning, because it was crazy viral in the beginning, but we needed to grow as humans in order to grow the business. And if we tried to do one before the other, then it wouldn't have worked out the way that it worked out. So, I'm very lucky that we stayed very open-minded. But I, I really don't think there've been any like hard lessons learned for us.  Maybe take an accounting course before you start a business. So, they read a little bit better with numbers. That's one little regret I wish I educated myself a little bit more in, but other than that, I'm very fortunate. We've all stayed very open-minded and willing to learn. 

Stef

 And Shannon, what about you?

Shannon

When she said the accounting, I think there's so many times when we're like, Oh, we don't know how to do this.  We always go with the fake it till you make it motto and I think in the beginning we didn't have as much confidence to do that. We always felt like we had to say like, Oh, our shipping, department's doing this. And meanwhile, it's like, we're the shipping department. We don't have to be ashamed of that. We do it all and we should be proud that we do every part of our business ourselves. 

 Stef

Carly what about you?

Carly

I feel that we've been very blessed with our journey. I mean, we've always had the support from our teammates and the fame program. We've had the following before we created the business. Like there's so many blessings in this business. And so, it's made our lives a lot easier than other entrepreneurs, but the hardest lesson would be, sometimes you put your heart and soul into something and you think it's going to do wonderful and it's going to flop.  For example, one of our t-shirts did so terribly bad and we had so much stock of it and we couldn't believe it. We were like, how did this not do well? Like we just wasted a ton of money on it. But like you just got to get over it and just keep showing up, make new designs or repurpose that design and make it work in other ways. Just adjusting as you go because not everything's going to hit, not everything's going to do well. Not every YouTube video is going to go viral.

Stef

Yeah, I think that's such a, it's such an important lesson. I mean, we're all going to have moments where we're on top and moments where we're on the bottom. It's part of, you know, being an entrepreneur, you're always going to have that.  I think what I'm taking away from, from all three of you is that sort of just willingness to be open and pivot and ask questions and ask for help and sort of, if you don't know something, go figure it out. And it's really inspiring. I think for a lot of young girls who are probably listening to this podcast and thinking, okay, maybe I'm going to go try it. So, you know, Shannon, I want to ask you, what advice do you have for young female athletes that aspire to be entrepreneurs? 

Shannon

 I think it's just finding out what you're most passionate about. I know its cliché, but then you really don't feel like you're working. You don't have to work a day in your life if you're that passionate about what you're doing. Don't have tunnel vision with your passion. Like we said earlier, you have to learn to pivot. There's so many ways and different things you can do around it. Just like we learned with soccer. There’re so many different aspects about staying around that passion.  We also mentioned earlier asking for help, especially from other female entrepreneurs or other entrepreneurs in general. We want to help each other, we want everyone to be successful. So, I feel like that's a big part of it as well.

Stef

And what advice do you have for anyone that wants to apply for Shark Tank and get out there?

Alanna

Get ready to fill out a lot of paperwork. I mean, I handwritten easily 75 pages for each of us. Every time we tried to apply, it was one of the most exhausting things ever. But you know, the, the payoff is big. Don't be hesitant. Like if you're going to go for something, go for it and just put your all into it. But yeah, it’s interesting. There are so many different avenues of making connections and applying for things and you just have to go for it. Whether you rent a car and you drive. How many hours did we drive to Davidson college and just enter ourselves into a business plan competition? You know, sometimes you got to just commit.

Shannon

 And I think even if you don't see it as successful in the beginning, it is a success because you are going to learn from each experience. 

Stef

 Absolutely. So, let's talk about the mission statement of Soccer Grl Probs, and really like some of the things that I know that we both care about deeply which is empowering girls and women in sport, fighting for equal pay, getting more media coverage. I love that about what you guys are getting after, and it's also something kind of front and center for Voice In Sport. So, let's talk about how we can make a difference in these areas. Let's start with the mission statement, Carly.  Tell us a little bit about your mission statement as well as your efforts to keep girls in sport.

Carly

 Our mission statement has always been to empower female athletes and make sure they feel confident and comfortable in their own skin. And as we've evolved as a brand, we now are bringing in supporting them holistically. And I think that just speaks to how much we truly care about the female athlete and how we want them to feel confident on and off the field, because some of us aren't going to play forever. We want to be able to feel confident leaving school and going into the real world. And I think that that's what we've always been about. And we truly take pride in what we can do and what we can provide to help these female athletes. And I mean, I think keeping women in sport is truly something that we value. We want soccer players, especially now during a pandemic to still find the love of playing. At the end of the day, that's what we do. We make them laugh and accept the challenges that come with being an athlete because we love it. If it makes you happy, it should be a part of your life. So just growing the women's game and providing coverage and working with brands who care about the women's game is truly important to us. We want to make it top of mind for these athletes and to know that they can actually reach attainable goals by playing pro and going beyond school too if they want it to go that route.

Stef

I also just love that you guys keep it light. Because it's important to have fun and ultimately like laugh at yourself sometimes. But what's no really laughable and that what continues to frustrate me is once you do get through that journey and you go to pro, the pay isn't equal in all cases to the men's team. I know this is something that you guys are equally passionate about trying to change as we are at Voice In Sport. So, Alanna, can you talk to us a little bit about, you know, how did you guys approach what happened to the U S women's soccer team in the last year as they went up against us soccer to fight for more pay, how did you approach supporting them? And what are your thoughts on this topic? 

Alanna

  It's a tough topic because you try to even say anything about it and the way people will debate and go at each other in the comments of a post and things like that, its really just mind blowing. But you know, we've had, we've had teammates that we played with in college and friends that we've grown up with who are now in the NWSL and they go to housing with a host family. They're not even expected to be able to pay where they live, which is wild. We spoke with Justin McDonalds on a podcast, how she'd have to hire babysitters to watch her son just, so she could go to practice.  It's important that if you want women to be the best athletes that they can be, but they have to work side jobs to make a reasonable living, to be able to get groceries every weekend and be able to afford housing, stuff like that. And it's, it's just not an environment that's setting them up for success. And then we wonder why there's gaps in, how many girls follow through and play professionally. So, the whole equal pay debate is something we're super passionate about. We're seeing countries now start to actually enforce rules in their federations where the women and men will be paid equally, which is wonderful. But in the U S we have this giant pay disparity between your top, most famous female players and then the rest of the professional female athletes in that. That huge pay gap is bigger than I think people realize and it makes it hard to be a professional athlete make that a reasonable goal for a female. it's always like, Oh, I'm going to be a pro. And I have to side hustle and coach, or I have to side hustle and be an entrepreneur. And that's just not the way that it should be.  These women deserve to be able to make a living by being professional athletes and to be able to focus themselves entirely on that job.

Carly

 We actually created a t-shirt and a sweatshirt, and it says "pay them" on it. And it's one of our top sellers. We want to just continue to raise awareness. Have that discussion with a friend or a family member about it, get people talking. And we also collaborated with the NWSL players association because we want more people to care about the NWSL and, show up for the games that have pride in the teams. So, there's so many ways that we're trying to just get more people to care and to talk about women's sports. 

Stef

It's so critical what you said, Carly. We need to get more people coming to the games, tuning in, buying tickets. But we're kind of up against this massive media empire, if you will, that controls a lot of the visibility on TV. And you guys know the stat as well as we do, but 3.2% of sports media is spent on covering women's sports, which is just terrible. So, what can we do? Shannon let's start with you.  What can we do to supercharge this area and accelerate and help bring more visibility to women's sports?

 Shannon

 Showing up, going to the games, follow all those players, follow those teams post on your own social, because maybe your family and friends don't know that there's a game on, even if it's online. But I think also a big part of it is watching females in different sports. I think one of the things that we've wanted to do recently, we were talking with our friend at Bleacher report. She runs the highlight her account is there's incredible female athletes in all these sports that we don't even watch. Like there's basketball players who we should be watching. We should be going to their games. We should be going to all different types of athletic events so that we can support the girls in all the different sports. So, I think that's a big part of it as well.

Stef

There's a lot of amazing companies out there that want to accelerate this. And so, I think banning together is a great way to do it. Let's kind of wrap up, this conversation with what is next for you guys when you look ahead in 2021 and 2022?

  Carly

We have so many fun things in the works, and we just essentially want to be the one-stop shop for female athletes. Where they come to us for support on and off the field and ways that we're doing that actually this year, we just came out with a published book. So, we would have been doing a book tour, but now we're trying to find ways to promote the book while from home. We have national camps launching. We partnered with a camp company PS 90, and they're helping us host five national camps that are called SoccerGrlProbs camps. And we really want these camps to be a place where girls can come and be taught by female soccer players, especially to see that they have role models to look up to and to stay in the game to hopefully get recruited to go to college. We also want to continue building out our SoccerGrlProbs University platform and our podcast. We just really want to bring more value to the lady ballers life and for them to feel so confident in their performance and how they could recover or how they can stay in school and be the best student athlete. Or even be a good teammate and a good person, maybe even reducing their anxiety that they have on the field.  There’re so many ways that we want to support them through these platforms. And I think that there's a lot of exciting things to come as we continue to expand our reach to these women on our social platforms. 

Stef

 Let's end with one piece of advice that you would like to give to all of the young female athletes out there. And we will start with Alana.  

Alanna

 You belong.  There have been so many cases, whether it's on the field playing with boys or whether we're in a boardroom filled with a bunch of men. That feeling that is sitting in the back of your brain, like "you don't belong there" is doing you no service at all. So, lose that feeling and just always remember that you belong wherever you are you are.

Shannon

 Just remember why you play the game. We have so much added pressure and anxiety now, especially the younger female athletes to be as successful as possible and never make a mistake and just go out there and have fun. And that's all that I think that matters.

Carly

 When you lose a ball, always do everything in your power to win it back. And what I mean by that is just going throughout life with the mindset that you can do something to move forward and achieve your goal rather than focusing on what failures you went through. And focusing on what now, what did I learn from an experience? What can I do now, instead of saying, why did this happen to me? Is a huge mindset shift that I think will be very beneficial to players moving forward? 

Stef

 And what is one thing you'd like to see changed for the future of women's sports? 

Alanna

 I wanna keep seeing more representation. The more professional players that we've gotten to interview on our podcast and talk to when we asked them, when did they realize that they finally wanted to play pro or that they finally wanted to play at the next level? It's always because they saw someone else achieving it and it made them realize just how possible it is. So, I think that representation is so important and, we know cause when we were kids, there was a league that folded, there was really not a lot of representation except, you know, the 90 Niners. But we've seen so much more of it now and I just hope it keeps continuing to grow. Cause it’s really, really contagious in the way that it inspires girls to like, just go for their dreams. So, more representation for sure.

Shannon

 Keep seeing the gap close. I love that the US women's national team is the best, but I'd like to keep seeing every tournament where the whole world is playing that every country is just as good. And just for girls in all those different places to be able to play soccer and sports. 

Carly

 I think it's really important for young players now to play a role in the future of women's sports. And like Alana was saying, the representation of women in sports in general. You can grow up and be a women's sports journalist and cover women's sports, you can be a coach, you can do a million other things in which you can help be a role model to younger women and help. People talk more about the game. So, I think seeing more women do that is huge. And then also can we get more sports stores to have women's jerseys in the front of the store? I mean, it really is crazy. There's not enough representation of women's jerseys and all their apparel at sports stores, so it would be really cool to see that as a priority.

Stef

  it was just so inspiring to see you guys coming together as a team, both on the field and off the field. And creating this business and then turning, what was an amazing first tweet and a couple amazing apparel pieces into a thriving business that's going to do a lot of good. And so, it's so great to see what we can do together, we have a lot of alignment across Voice In Sport and Soccer Grl Probs, and we'll continue to lift each other up. So, thank you so much for joining us at the Voice In Sport podcast. 

Shannon

Thank you so much for having us. We really appreciate it.

 Stef

 Thank you, Carly, Shannon and Alana, for joining us on the podcast today, it was so inspiring to hear the story of Soccer Grl Probs and how together we can change the future for female athletes and keep it fun and real along the way. We also had VIS League member Darian Jenkins featured on the soccer girl probs podcast, so be sure to check out that episode on Apple and Spotify. Darian is an incredible mentor on the Voice In Sport platform, so be sure to sign up for sessions with her on Voice In Sport.com. You can follow Soccer Grl Probs on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest @ soccer G R L probs and subscribe to their YouTube channel Soccer Grl Probs vids. You can also shop their apparel, their book, and check out their up and coming camps at their website, Soccer Grl Probs.com. 

Please subscribe to the Voice In Sport podcasts and give us a rating. You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and tik tok @ Voice In Sport. And if you're interested in joining our community as a member, you will have access to exclusive content mentorship from female athletes and advocacy tools. 

Check out voiceinsport.com. And if you're passionate about accelerating sports, science and research on the female body. Check out Voice In Sport foundation.org and get involved. 

See you next week.

Host: Stef Strack

Producer: VIS Creators™ __________________ and Anya Miller

The founders of SoccerGrlProbs, a viral social media platform turned lifestyle brand, discuss how they've endeavored to empower the women's sports community in the fight for equal pay and increasing sports media coverage for women athletes.