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Episode #47

Becoming An Entrepreneur

with Jasmyne Spencer

22 Jun, 2021 · Soccer

Jasmyne Spencer, a Professional Soccer player for the Houston Dash in the National Women's Soccer League takes us through her journey in sports and becoming an entrepreneur.

Transcript

Stef: 

Today's guest is Jasmine Spencer, a professional soccer player for the Houston dash in the national women's soccer league. 

In this episode, Jasmine tells us about her nine years as a pro athlete and how this experience has helped her create an amazing sustainable clothing startup called jazz it up in this conversation.

Jasmine shares some of the challenges of being a black athlete in a predominantly white sport in the U S and how an empowering book club has helped her through the last year in the pen. She also shares an exciting project she's working on with some of her teammates, a documentary series called call up where each of the women share her own story in her own voice.

I love Jasmine story because she has taken everything she's learned from being an athlete and a great soccer player and transferred it to becoming a great entrepreneur. 

The past of entrepreneurship is not easy. And I love that she has emphasized sustainability in her new fashion brand. It's so inspiring to see, and it's definitely harder to do. She's also involved in so many incredible projects and I'm so excited to share this conversation with the biz community.

Welcome to the voice in sport podcast, Jasmine. 

Jasmyne: 

Thank you for having me. 

Stef: 

Today is such an important discussion because we're not only going to talk about your journey as a black female athlete in professional soccer, but we're going to talk about your journey, becoming an entrepreneur, starting your own apparel business, joining the board of the black women's players collective and also working on this amazing new docu-series.

We have a lot to unpack today, but it all ladders up to this idea of representation and storytelling.  Let's start with your story. For those of us who don't know your background, how did you end up in soccer? And what was it like at the very, very beginning of your career. 

Jasmyne:  

I am from long Island, New York originally, and my family is very sport oriented.

Pretty much we played every sport. I have two older brothers. They loved soccer, so naturally I loved soccer. I did everything they did, running around just trying to be like them. And I think through all of that, we all fell in love with the game at the same time. And it brought our family really close together.

And it's definitely the reason that I'm here and where I am today.

Stef: 

It's so important to have  that support system growing up in sport. I mean the facts girls are dropping out of sport, unfortunately, two times the rate of boys. And if you look at girls of color in urban areas, they're falling out even faster. 

I want to go back to your experience growing up in a predominantly white sport. even today, if you look at NCAA soccer, there's only 7% of black female athletes in NCAA division one . So, who was your role model growing up and how important is representation today for the success of sticking with sport?

Jasmyne: 

Yeah, representation is huge. I always say that my two older brothers are my biggest role models and have been because there weren't a lot of people playing soccer. It wasn't the most popular sport when I was a kid let alone for girls and, from day one, they would pick me on their teams at the park.

It didn't matter even what sport we were playing really, but soccer was our favorite. They always made me feel like I belonged. So my earliest memories honestly, are just kicking it with them. I think when I started to play competitively, I was on a boys team, rec soccer, and then they went travel and I was quote unquote, too young to go.

My birthday was seven days maybe after the cutoff. But  I was the only girl. So my dad moved me to the town over. And I was eight. So my first competitive team was actually full of black and Brown girls. It was so diverse and I think that's really unique as you said, the sport is predominantly white, but in my formative years, I was playing with everyone who looked like me.

It wasn't until I started to make my way up through the elite ranks that I, would look right and left and realize that there were fewer and fewer girls that looked like me. And I always, bring that back to when people say how do we get more kids of color to play? I'm like, we're playing, it's more of, how do we get us to stay in the game is the bigger question.

Stef: 

It's actually, our focus at voice in sport is Keeping girls in the game. And especially at those critical ages of around 13 to 15, when they really drop out it's so important.  What do you think  is one of the most important things we can do to keep more young black girls in sport? 

Jasmyne: 

I think it's two-fold, I think definitely engaging with them and showing women of color in powerful positions and at the elite level will encourage them and help them believe that they can make it there too. And also finding resources. A lot of times, kids of color come from a low socioeconomic backgrounds and soccer it's becoming more and more expensive every year.

If I was growing up in this day and age, I don't know that I could even afford to play at the youth level. So we have to find a way to, Revamped this pay to play model, or if we're going to continue on this trajectory, find ways and resources that we can make sure that we find kids away have access to the game.

Stef: 

Yeah. I think that's one of the things that we're excited about, we're partnering with the black women's players collective to make sure that we can offer free mentorship for young girls in sport. And that's one way to keep them in the sport is thinking about how do  you give them access to those, and it's so important to think holistically, when you're setting up your companies, how are you giving back? How are you setting up an infrastructure that not only does good but drives change and is sustainable.  I think that ties into a lot of the work that you're doing, Jasmine, which I'm excited to talk about  how sport has prepared you for this amazing journey that you're now on today in your professional life, off the field.

To go back a little bit. You've been nine years in the league, which is incredible, you played division one sports. It's so amazing that you started your journey, surrounded by girls who looked like you, but that isn't the case for most girls in soccer. And especially when you start transitioning to those more elite levels, like you said, you start looking around and not seeing yourself.

I want to talk about, that transition for you when you went from that youth sport level  to division one soccer. What were the biggest challenges that you faced during that time? 

Jasmyne:  

The most difficult was people not believing in my ability being pigeonholed and not necessarily by the coaches that I played for.

I think that they had a lot of respect and belief in me, but by opposing coaches or people who, for example, in the ACC, when you know, you're going to vote for first teams and being overlooked in those scenarios. So I think two things that stick out my freshman year in college, we were not very good.

We were in a big transition period at the university of Maryland.  My class and the class behind me were really the core group of those who revamped the program. But people didn't believe that the team could be rested on women of color, but there was five of us who had come to who came in the class before me and three of us who came In with me. And you know, we were leading the charge and  some people would take a step back and be like, how's that possible? I mean, well, we're good, that's it? End of story. It doesn't matter what we look like. Our ability should speak for itself. And I feel like too many times that isn't the case, whether it is a coach, a girl of color is playing for, or someone who's in a position to  hinder their development. they don't believe that we could be as good as our white counterparts. 

 Stef: 

Yeah, I want to talk about That and unpack it a little bit more. What biases do you feel like you're constantly facing as a black female athlete in the soccer community? Whether that's with coaches or teammates or general managers, what are those biases? 

Jasmyne: 

I think the number one is our athleticism from where, it's praised time and a time and again, but our cognitive ability and our technical ability always comes second. And you see it all the time in the pros where, , Oh, she's so fast.

She's so strong. Well, everyone is fast and strong in the NWSL. Like that alone does not equate to success. You have to be smart. You have to be good on the ball. And I think the problem that we're seeing now in the youth, especially is when you do find a girl who has some innate athletic ability too often, coaches are relying solely on that.

And so they're not continuing to develop their cognitive and technical ability. And so there does sometimes become a gap in their understanding of the game and their technical proficiency. And it's a shame because  you see someone and you see they're athletic. You think that, Oh they're gonna make it no matter what.

But in actuality, everyone is athletic in this league. So you can't just rely on that. And I hope that coaches start to change their mindset. 

Stef: 

What would you say to a young girl today who might feel like they're getting pigeonholed by their coach or their team, and they're not getting that extra, additional coaching on areas of the game and the other components that are super important to be a successful professional athlete.  If you were to whisper in her ear, how does she approach your coach?  

Jasmyne: 

It takes a lot of courage, especially as a kid to speak up. But you have to, I think that's something that my parents instilled upon me at a very early age.

You're not playing. Why? Why are you not playing? Are you doing well? Do you think you're performing well enough? Then go have the conversation and they always made me do it. They were never going to have that talk for me. They taught me that if I was going to stand up for myself, then I needed to be comfortable in doing so.

And yeah, it's difficult, but I would tell her for sure, have those conversations, have them earlier. They will get easier as you get older, if you're never having them from a young age and you're never going to back for yourself by the time you get here, it's too late, almost. And I think do the work yourself, the technical side and your understanding of the game is something you can easily train on your own.

Go out, work on your weaknesses and watch as much soccer as possible to learn from the best in the world. 

 Stef:  

Being a professional for nine years, what do you feel like you have gained from that experience? Because I'm sure you've seen those amazing stats about the CEOs that are leading the world and the top companies, a huge majority of them have played sports.

So, is that true for you? Is sport really giving you a ton of great things for you to leverage off the field? 

Jasmyne: 

Yeah, for one it's given me self-confidence and belief in myself, you're always having to put in so much work, not even just physical work, but mental and emotional work to be the best you can be at a specific trait.

I think, sports forces you to do that at an earlier age because it's literally a competition. And just meeting people and traveling I've got to experience so many different cultures and people. And I think that having compassion for others and learning how to work alongside people who aren't like you and don't come from similar backgrounds is also huge bonus to playing sport.

Stef: 

That's what I love about the game of soccer or football, it's a global sport and you've had that opportunity to play in a lot of different leagues and a lot of different teams. What advice do you have for girls that might be thinking about going pro? They're in college and they're thinking, should I go for it?

There's a lot of media out right now about unequal pay and unequal experiences, facilities, et cetera. It's not all roses and butterflies, we know that. But something to be said about sticking with sport and pursuing your passion. Looking back on that decision for you when you were in college, what advice would you have for girls, and how did you make that decision for yourself? 

 Jasmyne: 

That's a great question.  My mom is the best example because she had all of us kids first and didn't go back to school until she was 38, to become a teacher. So she's always been like, live your life first, do what you want to do first education, and those other opportunities will always be there.  And when I was going to college, there was no professional league. So when I was picking a school, it was, the end all be all. These are the last four years where you're going to have to be as competitive as you can.

And while I was in school, the WPS came back.  As soon as that opportunity arose, I was like, this is what I want to do.  I want the option to be able to call myself a professional athlete. So I think the decision was easy as far as pursuing it, but where it got difficult was I got drafted to the WPS and then the league folded three weeks out after. And so I had to make a decision whether I wanted to try and pursue this or finish school. And I was like, well the European windows are closed. Let me try and go back to school. And I couldn't get back into school. I'd missed the reenrollment deadline.

So I was like, well, what am I going to do now? They made a semi-pro league, which is a three-month season with all the teams who had folded. WPSL elite, it was called.  That was my first taste of professional soccer. And I loved it.  I was like, this is what I'm going to do, no matter what it takes.

I had a semester left to finish my degree, and then I started searching all these study abroad programs.  Where can I go to finish my degree? And the only place I could go was Denmark. So I couldn't even point it out on a map at the time. Honestly, I had no idea where that country was, but I'm like, that's where I got to go, if I'm going to get overseas and give myself the option to continue to play soccer. So sure enough, I enrolled in that study abroad program. I went to Denmark. I tried out on a couple teams and just worked my way up from the division 14 three two, the top team in the country saw me, and he was like, Come out.

We want you to try out for our team. And I made that team and getting to play champions league I guess my career was off to the races after that. The NWSL came back the next year. So I walked at graduation and then joined the NWSL.

Stef:  

Your career definitely took off after that because you have had this amazing opportunity to play in so many different teams around the world.  You ended up playing in Sydney as well. And then obviously here in the U S and then that experience in Denmark , so from having that experience as an international player I want to talk about two things.

One, did you feel like representation was better or more inclusive? The environment was more inclusive in one of those countries or leaks for you just as a black female soccer player and to what did you take from those experiences? Because that must have really shaped you to have exposure to all of those different cultures.

Jasmyne: 

Yeah, absolutely. I always tell people who ask me what my favorite part about being a pro is it's traveling the world. I said, I didn't even know where Denmark was. I would not have gone to that country if it wasn't for me trying to pursue being a professional soccer player.  And honestly, I think the dynamics of race are so complex, especially here in the States.

It's almost relief when I went to Denmark and Australia, because  I was seen as an American, but I was only seen for my ability on the field. And I can't say that it's the case for every race in those countries, but at least for being a black woman, they didn't care.

They were like, Oh, she can play. We love her. And I also can't speak for any other countries. You know, that was my experience in Denmark and Australia. But it was definitely a breath of fresh air. Right? Didn't feel like I was battling two things at one time. I could solely focus on being the best player I could be.

 Stef: 

That's so interesting. We think of America as this land of opportunity and freedom and, inclusivity when actuality we have deep rooted racial injustices,  in our country, in our history and  they're still there.  I want to take it back to last summer, when you joined a book club, out of, Oh, well reign and that book club was really formed to create more conversations, but also support for each other as black female athletes in the NWSL. So talk about  the book club,  how did it form, do you guys actually talk about books or were you just really talking about  all of the social injustices that we were facing?

Jasmyne:  

We had quite a few women of color on the team at that time. I think there were nine of us total in our bubble last year. And Mariah Lee started assistance group chat, just checking in on all of us. And so we had a meeting first with ourselves, checking in seeing how everyone was doing. It was the height of black lives matter movement. We were in a bubble in Montana because our own state was closed. So we were really on our own and isolated from anything we knew at that point. And from there this club is so great because it's always been so diverse with internationals LGBTQ members.

So right away, the rest of the girls were like, how can we support? How can we help? And we were like, let's take it back and start with educating ourselves. So that's where the book club came from. And because Mariah was a history major, we deep dove. We were reading really dense intellectual literature about why systemic racism exists, how it came about why it's still present today.

And I think it was the best thing for us because it really leveled the playing field for anybody's biases because it was backed by historical evidence.   Starting with that foundation, it grew into  pop culture and iMovie shows, fiction books, and  how it's  woven into American culture today.

And I always tell people the discussions that we had were really intimate and tears were shed and ultimately it just created  a safe space for everyone to share their own opinions and feel like they weren't going to be judged. They were going to be heard. And then honestly just have an open discussion about it.

And that just gave so much respect for every individual on the team and made us also close and a stronger organization for it. 

Stef: 

I love it. I think it's so important. voice and sport we center community in the center of our company and we really believe it has a ton of power. So I want to talk a little bit about that learning that you had from being part of that amazing community in a time that was pretty divisive.

What would you say to a girl today that might feel like she is struggling to find her voice in her team? Because she feels alone. Maybe she feels like she isn't represented she is the only black girl on her team. How do you start the conversations with your club team or your coach that might not be all in it together or might not be educated? Yeah,  that's actually one of the reasons why the BW PC was formed is because not everybody had that experience that we had at Oh well, and we wanted to have a community where all the women of color can feel like they're seen and heard and supported. And the best way we thought was to do that for ourselves. So that's where the BW PC was born. And I think the beauty of that is if it's uncomfortable, you have us across the league to help you. And then, we can go from there with open discussion.

Jasmyne: 

I think it's difficult if you are the only one. And there are quite a few girls in the league who are the only one or one of maybe two. But there's definitely allies out there. You can seek them out first and then tackle it together they're as a United front so you don't feel like you're alone on an Island and the only one  wanting to pursue those difficult conversations.

 Stef: 

That's such, good advice. When you  got together with the black women's players, which we're huge fans of we love what you  are aiming to do and happy to be a part of supporting it. You guys actually just signed are more of this for nine pledge, which is amazing. And that program is all about trying to enforce and educate title nine at every public institution in the U S which if you watch March madness, you know, It's not really enforced.

We have a lot of work to do.  We're excited that the black women's players collective is part of that pledge, but did this lead you  into this next chapter  of your work off the field, which is called the Collop, which is this amazing documentary series you are working on to highlight the storytelling of some of the amazing black female athletes in the pro soccer landscape.

Can you talk to us about sort of how that came to be and what is that series going to be about? 

Jasmyne: 

Yeah, I think we all felt like it was our time to share our stories. And in our own words, I think a lot of attention was drawn to the women of color during the challenge cup. And people were looking for quick little one-liners or headlines just to, you know, draw attention to their respective media sources, but no one was really listening to us. And so we were like, you know what, we need to do this ourselves.  We thought about creating the series to be able to tell our story in our own words.  We're highlighting some of the women in the league and it's really just going to be a look into what it's like to be a woman of color in this predominantly white space in America.

 Stef: 

It's going to be a great series. Why are you doing it?  If you really dig down into the why, what are you hoping to accomplish with the series?

Jasmyne:  

First and foremost, just highlight people who have not gotten there just dues. There's so many incredible women of color in this league and very few people know who they are or what they're about or how good they are. And a lot of that has to do with the lack of media coverage, specifically highlighting women of color. That's definitely the number one goal, just showcasing how amazing we all are.

And also continuing to be a beacon of light for the next generation. So young girls of color can know that they are capable of achieving anything that they want. And I think what's really cool is,  we do talk mostly about our journeys in soccer, but each of us is doing incredible things off the field too, and different industries and highlighting that part of our journey as well is, is going to reach more and more girls too.

Stef: 

I love it. It's so important. And that brings me to you and what you've done off the court, because it's really amazing to see you're doing a full-time job already as a pro soccer player, but then you have created your own apparel company. So let's talk about this apparel company.

Where did the idea come from?  Where were you? I heard it was your sister. Is that true? 

Jasmyne: 

Yes, my sister-in-law she's the mastermind behind it all.

I think in 2017 was shopping for more headbands. I always playing crazy headbands cause I have really curly hair and it's fun and you know, just embracing my individuality and she was like, you should stop buying so many headbands and just make your own. And I was like, Hmm. You're right.

I think I can do that. So jazz it up started as a custom headband collection originally. And as I was looking to expand and Grow it a little bit, i started realizing that the practices in the fashion industry will really, really detrimental to the environment. And that's something I'm also super passionate about.

I grew up on long Island, so, I've lived at the beach growing up.  I love nature and being outdoors. I want to make sure I can preserve it as best as possible. And I had no idea how damaging the fashion industry was to the environment. So I was like, I bet nobody else knows this.

So let me see if I can incorporate this into my brand to help teach people.  I started using eco-friendly fabrics for my headbands and scrunchies, and it was going well. And then when I tore my ACL in 2019, I was like, I think I can rebrand this into a full apparel line and just have a bigger impact, spread my message wider, inspire more people.

And so I went for it. I rebranded and relaunched jazz it up. And now it's the sustainable lifestyle bring. 

Stef:

 I love it. What is the mission of jazz it up?

Jasmyne: 

The mission is to educate and inspire people to lead an eco-conscious and socially aware life. And the hope is that we will empower communities and uplift our youth and protect our environment.

Stef: 

What type of products do you offer? The hero item is the headband from your own experience, but tell us about the whole collection. 

 Jasmyne: 

Yeah. So it's active where I have sweats and joggers t-shirts some tank tops, leggings, and my favorite of the piece is a windbreaker, a crop top windbreaker.

And I started, my first collection was made of 50% organic cotton, 50% recycled polyester that's made from recycled plastic bottles. And I thought that it was amazing to just, show people that recycling, if done properly, can go a long way. And I think the clothing piece is really what draws people in because everybody loves fashion.

Even if you say you don't, you love what you wear, you want to wear what makes you feel comfortable, makes you feel good? And so it is a part of our everyday lives. Building that message into a clothing line was where I was going to be able to reach the most people.

Stef: 

Yeah, I don't think a lot of people know, like you said, the impact of the fashion industry has on carbon emissions. So fashion production actually has 10% of humanity's carbon emissions, which is quite a lot when you think about it, and it can dry up a ton of water if you're using dyes or the wrong material, the impact that your organization can have is pretty detrimental. 

So that's where companies like Patagonia really leading the way. It's really incredible to see companies like that create that holistic cyclical model in what they're doing.

You're picking organic cotton, you're picking recycled nylon and polyester, which is a great first step. When you think about the future of what you want to create here at jazz it up, what are you doing to give back to the environment?

Jasmyne: 

Yeah, it's a great question. And honestly, I know we talked briefly about this, but the deeper I dive into fully understanding sustainability and what that means in the fashion industry, the more and more I learn how big of a responsibility and task it is.  I think what you touched upon briefly is that, that circular model, I ultimately want to be able to reduce my waste where I'm not impacting the environment at all.

And we're not there yet. I think that maybe in the next five, 10 years, we can get there, but making sure that I'm building products that are long lasting. You're not going to need to throw it away in two weeks, two months, it's something that you can have in your closet for years and still continue to wear.

That's I think where I've started and just making classic pieces that you can get the most use out of. 

Stef: 

Yeah, it's a great place to start. It's actually harder when you're a company of multi-billion dollar size, where I came from at Nike, it's much harder to then go back 

So I love that you're already starting in a place of good intention and picking your suppliers and your manufacturing partners and the materials that you choose with a lot of care. And I think that is so important for people to know, because people should be paying attention to the brands they're buying.

Where are they making their product, how sustainable is their entire supply chain. that is so important. I think consumers are getting smarter and smarter and they're getting more and more curious and accountability is becoming the norm. But the same thing goes on the business side for building a sustainable apparel business. It's so exciting to see you start in that area. I'm excited to see what you're going to build with Jas it up in the future. I want to talk about something a little less important, but still I think so critical models.

So do you use athletes or do you use models? 

Jasmyne: 

I use athletes, family members, models. Whoever is available with my time schedule and in my budget, you are hired. 

Stef: 

You heard it everybody, but I'm a big fan of using actual athletes to represent products. I think it's so important. And I love that. So if you haven't seen it go to jasitupofficial.com and check out their collection.  but I saw a few of your teammates on your site. So have you been having to basically fend them off to see who gets to try the new collection?

 Jasmyne: 

Yes that day actually, I launched that collection when we were in the bubble. Obviously I had been planning it probably 18 months in advance. And when launch day was coming around, we were stuck in a hotel in Utah. So I could only use my teammates and I put in our group chat, I'm sorry to bother you all, but I need product photos. Anyone's interested?

And I ran out of items. I didn't have enough items for the amount of teammates who wanted to support me. And it was unbelievable. I have a new collection coming out soon at the end of the month and I have already when's it coming out? Do you need a model? they've been great to me this whole time. 

Stef: 

Well, I'm sure some of the league members would love to help out. So you can just take a look at whoever's a league member, our pro athletes that mentored the young girls. And I'm sure they'll jump in to model for you. It's so cool what you're doing jasmine, and I'm excited to see where you're going to take that. 

So what has really prepared you for that? Cause it can be hard to start a business from the ground up. You're creating the brand, the strategy, actually implementing the product. So what advice would you have to girls out there or other pro athletes that are thinking about starting businesses? What are the three biggest lessons you've learned so far? 

Jasmyne: 

You need to be passionate about it. It's a lot of hard work. If it's not something that you're truly, truly dedicated to it will be really difficult to succeed. So definitely start something that's what you want to be doing all the time, because it does consume a lot of your free time.

The second thing I learned was to have patience. I was always full of ideas and in the beginning definitely jumped prematurely on some ideas and it's a learning curve. I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, but  I've learned a lot as well. And the last thing is just believe in yourself. You're not going to be an overnight success. No one is, I have learned that from shark tank, for sure. People going on, saying, this is my umpteenth time and when I watched that show, I know I'm not alone and this journey as an entrepreneur, so definitely take your time.

Be patient believe in yourself and be passionate in what you're pursuing. 

Stef: 

Oh, such good advice.  I have my daughter and my son watched shark tank with me too. Cause I want to start seeding in their minds that they can do anything, build anything they want. I love that show. So have you actually reached out to get funding for your business? What is your long term growth strategy for jas it up?  

 Jasmyne: 

I've applied to several different grant programs.  The next step will be building my team because I'm learning there's just too much work for one person.

And this is the first time that I'm really seeking investment, which has been really fun and exciting. I have a couple of mentors. my other sister-in-law has worked in the fashion industry for eight years and she's a executive sales associate. So, this is her bread and butter, she's been extremely helpful.

It's exciting and nerve wracking. Now I have to take my idea out of home and potentially, get some rejections. I don't know what lies ahead, but it's just been really fun and taking that next step towards growth. 

Stef:  

The path of entrepreneurship is an unknown.  You have to be okay with uncertainty, and  being an athlete, tying it back to what you've been doing for the last 30 years, you've been training yourself and that's why we're such big fans of voice and sport to keep girls in sport because the longer they're in sport, more of that confidence, that leadership skills they're going to be able to use to go drive and do something amazing outside of sport..

So who are three other female athletes that you would call out that you're super impressed by what they're building off the field. 

Jasmyne:  

Venus and Serena Williams I'll count them as one because I equally loved them when I was younger. And they're both entrepreneurs, so I grew up watching them on the court and now to see what they're building off the court is incredible. they're definitely my top two. I think my teammate, Warren barns and everything she's doing and her love for the environment and sustainability. We send each other little things all the time, just thinking green as much as we can. She just made something incredible for our team eco travel kits, which is so cool. 

Stef: 

I saw that. Danny wetherholt Is one of our, VIS league members and one of our mentors and I saw her in the commercial.

It just made me so happy because it's such a good cause.  Thinking about those care packages that you guys need and then knowing that so much thought went into putting that together. All through the lens of sustainability. I thought it was really special.

Okay. So that's two, who would be your third?  

Jasmyne: 

I think my third is Renee Montgomery. We briefly met her on a panel we did last year,  in regards to getting people out to vote and just to see how she was able to transition so seamlessly at probably the most difficult time for all of us athletes from the game and to now being part owner of w NBA team is incredible.

and the work she's doing for the black community in Georgia she's amazing. So those are probably my top three.

Stef:  

It just goes to show you that there's a lot of power in female athletes and a lot of amazing things you can do outside of, your sport. So talk to us about that transition.  Where have you seen it gone wrong and where have you seen it gone right? I know you're still playing, so you haven't quite left the game yet, but what advice would you have for girls who are about to transition off of the professional circuit? And they're now about to go into a whole new chapter of their lives. 

Jasmyne:  

Yeah, I think be patient with yourself.  Something I learned, from my other friends who've since retired, whether they played a couple of years pro or right after college finished up their career, they took time, to try new things, see what they like, see what they don't.

And in the end they all wound up where they were supposed to be. You shouldn't be in a rush. Because we're all on track for each of our own greatness. I think if I could send one message to, people just starting out in their career, I would say start trying new things. Now for me, I've always been doing a lot of stuff off the field.

I used to volunteer animal shelters. I was an ambassador for a company that did beach cleanups and got to do one in The Bahamas with them. I knew that I always loved the environment and I didn't know in what capacity I wanted to work with that. And I think trying out all those different things and having those different experiences really just gave me life.

And it's good for your mental side too, because this lifestyle is rigorous. No one can go a hundred every day. I think if you have an outlet that has something to do with something you enjoy it's going to keep you happier while you're playing and set you up for success when you're done.

Stef:  

I think it's great advice because you're the creative producer on the new docu series call up and you're also playing, and  you're running a business, you're doing what you're preaching right now, which is really cool because it's not until you try a bunch of things that you learned, what you really, really want to do. And we're all working progresses, right? We're all still on a journey. I mean, I spent 14 years at Nike.

I went to the fashion industry as a CEO and then I was like, wait, actually  I want to be a startup entrepreneur. And every day is part of learning and growing. So it's a great attitude to have, but I think starting it while you're still playing is so important and you've clearly done that, which is amazing.

 what advice would you have for young girls today that hope to be in your position, jasmine? They want to be in the pro-life and they're still in high school. How would you talk to a girl and coach her in high school. If she'd someday wants to be, you wants to be where you're at, where she's a pro, she's working on her own business. What advice would you have for her ? 

Jasmyne: 

Yeah, I think definitely put your education first when you're that young, because it will give you the freedom to do what you want later, once you graduate and, you have that diploma that you can fall back on, you have the freedom to explore and try new things.

 Definitely put education first, and then just follow your heart, work hard, try new things. Be okay with failing. I failed so many times I've gotten cut from teams.  But I just never gave up on myself. And that's the beauty of anyone's journey, whether you're trying to be a professional athlete anything in between just being comfortable with the obstacles that are going to come with chasing them and keep going after it.

Stef: 

What advice would you have for A girl who does not feel like she is represented in her sport. 

Jasmyne: 

Yeah. I have said this line so many times over the years, but I see you and I hear you. You're not alone. We have all felt like that. Anybody race, religion, gender, whatever it is that you feel like you are isolated in that space, you are not alone.

There is somebody who sees you and hears you. And there are resources and people who want to help you and see you succeed to seek those out. 

Stef: 

I love it. And that's where our partnership exists with the black women's players collective, is to make sure that those girls have a place to go and that they have a place to connect with pro athletes and see themselves in that future position. Thank you so much, Jasmine, for all of your advice. our signature question always is to ask all female athletes, we're doing great things, but what do we want to see changed for the future of women's sports? If you had to pick one thing, what would your one thing be? 

Jasmyne: 

I think just celebrated more. I mean, We want more money, we want everything, we want better endorsements, but we really just want to be celebrated.

I want to scroll through Twitter and see a post about a amazing woman in sport, doing something incredible and not see all the negativity. That is what I think we all want. We just want to be seen and celebrated for our unique and individual abilities. 

Stef: 

Love that it reminds me of a post. We did a couple of weeks ago on our Instagram and it was about unequal pay. It was around when Midge and Rapinoe were in the white house on equal pay day and the amount of men jumping in to have negative comments just shocked me.

I hope to see that changed in the future. And I'm sure with this new series that you guys are going to be presenting sometime in the near future that we'll be putting more beautiful stories out into the world for these young girls to see. So thank you for doing that work, Jasmine, and for all the work that you do off the field.

Jasmyne: 

Thank you so much. 

Stef:

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us, Jasmine. It is inspiring to see how many important projects you're involved in as athletes. We need to find our identity beyond sports, especially during the tough moments of transition.  It's not always easy, but like you said, we are never alone in any challenge.

There is always someone else who sees us or hears us. And you're an example of a great role model for young athletes. And I love to see Jasmine's fearlessness and starting her own brand, jazz it up, working on a documentary series and just following her heart and passion. She reminds us that failure is not something that we should be afraid of.

It is how we pick ourselves up. After we fall and whether we learn from our mistakes, that eventually leads us to success at voice and sport, it is our mission to bring more visibility to women and elevate their voice through stories like Jasmine's, you can follow Jasmine on Instagram at J a Y Spence three, and you can find her sustainable fashion brand@jazzitupofficial.com. You can always find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and tick talk at voice in sport.

Leave us a review. Subscribe, share our podcast with your friends to show support. If you are a girl or woman in sport, 13 to 23 years old, we'd love to have you join our community. When you sign up@voiceinsport.com, you will have access to our exclusive content mentorship from amazing pro athletes, expert advice from the top sports psychologists and dieticians and a community that is advocating to drive change in the sports industry.

We hope to see you next week at the Voice in Sport Podcast.

 

Jasmyne Spencer, a Professional Soccer player for the Houston Dash in the National Women's Soccer League takes us through her journey in sports and becoming an entrepreneur.