After injuring her ACL in 2022, Christen Press is remaining positive — especially after the 2023 World Cup is coming to an end.
"Being able to watch the World Cup this year was extremely stressful, but it is a shooting star experience that only few can feel that pressure. But being able to play in the World Cup is allowing yourself to excel at sports for your country. I feel fortunate to have gone this long without an injury, and I look at it optimistically moving forward and continuing my career. I am taking everything one step at a time but look forward to the future and getting back with my team, Angels FC," the 34-year-old exclusively tells OK! while talking about her involvement with Degree’s Change the Field campaign, which aims to create safe and inclusive environments for girls of color on and off the field.
The athlete, who always knew she wanted to play soccer at a young age, is looking to change the game for others.
"I think representation is really important. I am very proud to be a part of a generation of player with increased diversity of players in our national team because I think when girls can see people that look like them on the field making it to that level, it does make you believe. I think through work on Degree’s Change the Field campaign as well, it is important for us to come together and do the work to make everyone feel more included in this sport," she shares.
"I think that sports has an amazing opportunity to create change and I have created a business that is the intersection of sports business and equity. The whole idea is that we need to re-image the infrastructure of women's sports — it was built for men, made by men and they have given women’s sports the back hours, the extension room and it does not fit. We can see this in how you cannot find women’s games, we have little information on what's going on in women's sports. The content is buried and subpar. Women’s sports has this incredible opportunity to tell stories and create change, it is quite unique," she adds.
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Since Press is so passionate about changing the landscape for women, talking about Degree’s Change the Field campaign was a no-brainer.
"As a Black woman and professional soccer player, I am committed to using my own voice and platform to inspire girls of colors to keep joining the sport, but also inspire the sport’s leaders to foster inclusive and diverse atmospheres for these girls. Degree and I share a passion for advancing the sport toward a more inclusive environment, which is why I hope my message encourages coaches, players and leaders alike to implement Degree’s inclusivity modules in their communities. Degree’s free ‘Girls Can’ training modules will help equip coaches, teachers and community leaders with the skills and knowledge to ensure that equal opportunities in soccer exist for women and girls everywhere," she expresses.
"It is important to shed light on this issue and create a more inclusive world. It is extremely important to me that soccer is a diverse and inclusive sport. We are taking a step in the right direction. Degree’s Change The Field program is an opportunity to talk about how we can come together and make a change. We all grow up differently and it is important to look at that when focusing on the business of sports," she continues.
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The soccer star and her partner, Tobin Heath, have been hosting The RE-CAP Show, a twice-weekly series covering the 2023 World Cup that offers post-game analysis, interviews and more, and she believes it's time for women to "take advantage of this opportunity."
"The show is the launch of a media division for Re-inc, we have our commerce division and our community. We have the intention to reimagine how women are seen in sport. We want to diversify the perspective of a women's soccer player," she notes. "I hope to see a more inclusive sport, that is lifting the voices and ideas of all women of color, flourishing in leadership opportunities. With this partnership with Degree on their Change The Field program, I hope to see change implemented."