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This is the first blog series by the Girls Academy representative until the end of the 2022-23 season. The purpose of this series is to provide a platform for stakeholders to write about what they think is important inside and outside the field. First up is Isabel “Izzy” Harnen (his third from left), a midfielder and defender in his 2024 class playing for Salvo SC. Izzy is a member of the Academy’s Advisory Board and serves as a representative for the Middle America Conference. National Her Girls & Women Her In Her Sport In honor of her day, Izzy decided to write about her experiences as a young woman in football.

My experience as a female athlete is markedly different than it was for women a few years ago because women’s sport has changed for the better in many ways. Today’s athletes want a safe place to learn, grow and compete. While progress has been made, steps need to be taken to improve player safety and health.

In recent seasons, scandals have plagued the NWSL, other spaces in the football community, its coaches, and its players. These indefensible acts do not exist in the world of football, or anywhere else for that matter. Girls deserve to be young women and develop their love of games without fear. Overall, we are focused on prioritizing the mental health of our athletes and support for victims. However, the measures to prevent adverse effects on mental health must also be stopped at the root.

Not only did the perpetrator let the player down, but a system was also put in place to protect the player. Unfortunately, even when incidents are reported and evidence is uncovered, there is still a lack of adequate responses to these situations. In recent years, when I have experienced boundary breaking and nasty behavior from people in positions of authority, I wish I had listened more to those who had the power and ability to hold this individual accountable. increase. As they crossed boundaries and continued to hurt others, further harm could have been prevented if something had been done when I first spoke.

Thankfully, I have also been very lucky to have had amazing coaches, trainers, physical therapists, and others who have helped me along my football journey through my club and high school. We have built a great relationship as a result. On behalf of an organization like Girls’ Academy, we are proud to listen to our players and address issues much bigger than the game. It’s incredibly exciting that GA has been developed in just a few short years to provide safe and healthy spaces. We can’t wait to see what else is in store as women in sport continue to redefine and own their sport journeys.



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