Part 1: Football Story
Hi, I'm Stef from Soccer Girl Goals and welcome to the Career Series. Today I have with me Lucy from Passion FC. Thanks for joining us in our career series.
And thank you for hosting me having me on the series too.
Okay, so to give a bit more context, the Career Series will cover various players who are either playing professionally or able to find time outside of their careers to pursue football, or those who have followed their passion in football to join the industry itself. We hope to show women footballers that having passion in football can provide you with opportunities in your career as well, so I shan't hog the mic any longer. Let's start with the first segment where we find out more about how Lucy started playing football. So Lucy, maybe you can tell us a little bit about yourself first, like what are you doing now?
Okay, so hello everyone. My name is Lucy and currently I'm the managing director of APAC of Passion FC, but I'm also a student, so I graduated from New York University last year with a bachelor degree of sports management. And currently I'm a graduate student also at NYU studying public relations and corporate communication. So Passion FC just in short words is a movement it's actually a 501 (c)3 non-profit registered in New York. It's an educational platform that seeks to bring people together through the power of football. We share in depth stories, we do events, campaigns, aiming to address social issues from the lenses of football and bring the opposite view together by erasing bias and sharing the same passion.
Alright, so um, like maybe we can dive into like how you got started to play football?
Yeah. So I started when I was I started pretty late. I started in 2013 when I was, 14 years old. When I first came to the U.S. for high school, I joined the school team the first year. And before I have always been interested, before I'll come I'm came from China, by the way. So before I play handball, around, ironically, and then around about 5th grade that was 2010 South Africa World Cup, my coach loved football. And then we sometimes play casually instead of conditioning, like barring running and conditioning, training, so that's where I got really interested into it. But I hadn't started playing in a team setting in like, more so like, organized training setting until I came to the U.S. for high school.
Okay, so what do you love about football?
So I think there's two aspects of it. First, I, I just love the game and style. It's just fun to play. I love the physicality, the competitiveness into it. And it also requires a lot of teamwork because 11 people play together but I mean, even though there's like last people version, like 5 versus 5, 8 versus 8 but still, it's a very, it requires a lot of teamwork in order to succeed. And then at the deeper level as as think it's a such an international sport, it allows me to meet many different new friends right away when I go to somewhere new, like I fit in right away when I first came to the U.S. And then when I came to New York for college, I find friends play together. And then now we still are friends and then when I first one to Spain, I joined a local team. So and then me and my coaches, my teammates, we still, we are still in touch. So it just wants to play together, you feel like you automatically are friends with them. And this is such a special connection that common passion. It's a very strong time. So I love using football to meet different people, and also learn different cultures through it.
Wow, that's really amazing like, just having football as the connection. Like no matter where you go, like you always fit in because, you know, that common passion you guys have.
Um, okay, so like, what were some of the challenges you face in your football journey?
Yeah, so actually, I've been compared to a lot of other friends and quite fortunate because I don't have any difficulties as a female, and then the environment in China, even like, female, it's quite rare. So people actually like to play with me just to it's just out of curiosity, that kind of thing. And to actually respect me, just based on my own experiences, and in the US, needless to say, I think the most difficult time is when I first went to Spain. It's a completely new environment at the time my language skill is not that good yet. I couldn't really communicate and know a bit. I knew the basic things. So I got a chance to try out at a local team and it's a pretty competitive team and but the thing is the coach and the team captain they weren't that friendly they're I also think they're pretty racist. They didn't talk to me. And they didn't like just treat me that well. And then I feel like the captain just when we are playing games together the first day she kind of intentionally tripped me or just trip me very aggressively. So I got really badly injured because I fell on the turf and then it just my knee was bleeding, it was quite tough. And then it just really made me I don't want to go back to the team the next day to finish my try-outs, but I had to kind of push through it because I, I just it just remind me of my purpose of I the reason why I chose Spain because I really want to understand how does the cultural aspect work in terms of football and how I really want to interact with Spanish locals and I want to just to further learn why football is such a successful sports in Spain so I kind of have to push through that and it was very tough for me and then fortunately so I pushed through the first week and then obviously I didn't make the team but there was another very friendly player she introduced me to another team. Turned out to be very friendly turned out I stayed for the four months with them. It's very international there's there are players from Argentina, there player from Morocco's, friends, and coaches even though their language skill is not English language is not that great, but they still try to communicate with me, it’s actually a very embracing and friendly team. So by no means I am saying like Spain, is more racist, but it is turned out my first team was pretty like racist. So that was very hard for me, especially I first went to Spain and I experienced that. It was very hard.
But it sounds amazing that you actually managed to push through.
Yeah, the language is definitely hard sometimes, you know, it took me like a couple minutes to understand what the culture is saying. But I will say like under that kind of the language environment you actually learn a lot faster.
So what are some common Spanish football terms?
I actually to be honest, in my team, like we're allowed to swear. It's quite interesting, but we swear a lot definitely swearing is more common thing to say.
Right, right. Okay, gotcha.
Stay tuned for our second segment career in football.
Part 2: Career in Football
Okay, I want to talk about career in football. So I understand you're in passion FC, could you maybe introduce like a bit of the work of Passion FC? And what you actually do there?
Yes. So as I mentioned before, Passion FC, we are a non-profit educational platform to seek to bring people together. So I'm a managing director of APAC region. So my main task is to develop strategies to promote Passion FC in the region, to build a presence. So maybe, you know, getting stories from people who are in the region, find partnership opportunities like this. And hoping to make an impact in the region, we also have a long term partner called Universal Dialect. So they are active were company but every two items they sold, they donated soccer ball. So we are also reaching out to people who are actually in need from a more so remote, remote and poor area in China. So there is a teacher he teaches kids football just to give them opportunity to compete with other teams, maybe in other town, so actually give the kids opportunity to get off the mountain they're living in so but they are short in equipment. So that's why I'm reaching them out to see if it needs any donation so that kind of stuff in general, just to furthering our goal in the region.
Well, it sounds like you guys are doing great stuff at Passion FC.
Right. So what got you started in it? How do you like join Passion FC.
So I'm actually the second member of Passion FC back in May 2019, I came across Passion FC is Instagram profile. And then it was much smaller. And then it was only run by my classmate, Arik, which is our founder. So he actually interviewed one of my friends at the time. And so I talked to him after class one day to find out, you know, the overall goal of Passion FC and Why did he started and so he actually started when he was studying abroad in Africa. And he told me what it's all about confront social issues, you know, to bring people together with the same passion. So it really resonated with my own goal. So I just kind of implied can I maybe also join you? So at the time we were just I think just an Instagram page, we haven't registered yet. And we, right now we are a team of eight with 12 interns, but at a time it was only us two, and the not till last year, last March, we had our third member. So it is more so because I feel like a whole reason, the reason why I studied sports management, I want to share the positivity, of sports of football to more people, so inspire them to get into it too.
Wow, I mean, you are a student at NYU, right? So how are you like, juggling your time within being a student and like being passionate? How does that work?
I mean, it's not easy, just like all of our members, most of us are still students, especially during finals, it's hard to do both at the same time. So also, our workload really depends on the project that we are working on. So also, for me, I think the hardest part probably is the different time zones because I'm in charge of Asia, and then, you know, it's more than, usually more than 12 hours’ time difference. Sometimes, you know, I had to sacrifice a bit of sleeping time, you know, either get up early or, you know, go sleep late to communicate. I mean, it's not easy, but I think it's very manageable it just, yeah, it's management, but it's not easy, especially when you have a lot of school works. And a lot of our members actually they have added internships so it's definitely not easy. But it's manageable, because you know, you'd like it
Sounds like the passion is really driving you guys.
How can people contribute to Passion FC if they wanted to?
Okay, so there are different ways so we always welcome stories. If anyone wants to share their football stories and get featured on our page, they're always will come back, just DM us your story and we will talk it's just feel free to reach out to us we are always open for football stories. And also we are also open for partnership like what we are doing right now to you know, furthering both goals at the same time. And now like it just a morsel like a shameless plug. We are also accepting donations on our website because we are we are a registered non-profit right now and we just recently been granted to receive donation, so anyone who wants to help out to the cause in this way just maybe feel free to donate. And that's so shameless, but that's an actual way to contribute. But for the most part, we just, we just have stories, we are open to partnerships or anything, we are actually quite open for different opportunities.
All right, you hear that? It's, um, share your stories, donate, partnerships. Okay, so are you able to share how, like some stuff you learn in sports, like how has it benefit you?
Yeah, so I think dedication, patience, you know, I think because in sports, a lot of time it's the it's very result oriented. I think I learned how to balance that with you know, the process and and results sometimes you know, result doesn't necessary matter and that can apply to things we work on in our life like other things non-sports related. Sometimes you focus more on the process and also it's really how do you bounce back after you loss of games stuff like that it makes you be more mentally prepared for a lot of difficulties in life you know, in other areas, maybe your studies or work. It just I think a train mentality to be a very strong and very independent, independent person and also it's dedication a lot of time to training is definitely tough. It's tiring and they may not be fun, so I think it really make me be able to push through it, that also applied to a lot of stuff in my main life not related to sports interests, you know, also teamwork how to work together with other people. Because in life in our jobs, we have like team projects and stuff, stuff like that. It just, it's sometimes hard to articulate I just feel like I'm a better individual. I compared to pastor sports quite early, so I don't have that comparison. But I just feel like in general, no better person,
Right? Imagine your life without sports.
Yes, it is so important to me. I like the competitiveness, but I also respect the process. I like the people I meet through sports, football, especially.
Stay tuned for our final segment where we talk about career advice.
Part 3: Career Advice
Now maybe we can go into like the challenges faced, or like any advice for anyone interested to start a career in football? So the first question I have for you is, what were some of the challenges you faced, or observed in your career?
So I think, in general, the biggest thing, because I'm also a female, it's females in the football industry, and also in other sports. I think sometimes are either underappreciated, or underrepresented. So like two years ago, I want to intern at Chinese Super League and despite the fact that I had a close connection with a person who already working there, he was a referee, but the head still said that they don't hire female, like it's that in as administrative roles. So it is my connection at the league, he believed that the male interns are actually not that great is definitely not the same level as me. So it's just, you know, the underlying thoughts of the higher ups, it’s just that females are not strong enough, you know, there's, it is more so like a burden. Like if we travelled together, there's more to worry about it just, they don't want any inconvenience. So it just pulling that kind of stereotypes on females, but I, but it's like that kind of thought they thought, Oh, we are protecting you. Because you know, those work are gonna be tough or tiring or just difficult for females. So we want you to stay out of it. But actually, I feel like that's a way to underestimate my own ability. Yeah, it was very sad. I actually cried after, you know.
Oh my gosh, no.
Yeah, it was a stressful time too, but still it just, is hard to accept that, you know, sometimes you're rejected just because of the gender. You know, it's an issue everywhere. It's just a varies from regions to regions. But it's still issue. A big challenge, I think,
Right, right. I mean, was there any way you overcame that obstacle of like this gender stereotype?
Yes, I actually, I also learned some, I also have some advice from other females who are already pretty successful in industry, like, she is the communications director at Baron Unique. So, she told me that I also very much agreed with myself, like when I'm interacting with other people in the industry is you have to kind of have a firm voice. Maybe like in real life, actually, in real life, I'm a very easy-going person, like, I am pretty mellow. But like in a work setting, maybe you just have a different personality, you have a firm personality voice and then showing people what you're talking about, like, you show your professionalism, and just not compromise on a lot of things. I mean, unfortunately, you kind of have to do that to establish you know, your role. And also, I feel like maybe, sometimes is it's not like, I'm going with the flow was, the stereotype is more so like finding your fit, maybe in some environments, some roles, they just don't really welcome females. I feel like if you just have to go into it just against other people, they might not even, it might not be dealt well so maybe find a role that actually female turned out to be more advantaged. You know, just to find your right role. I think that's also important, you know, to approach problems strategically.
Yeah, there's a very good point. Like, sometimes there's no point like, if you can't win the battle, like find somewhere else where your talents will be appreciated.
Yes. Yeah, that's correct. Yeah.
Okay. And how would you recommend someone who is new to like, the sports management or sports field to enter the industry?
I feel like as long as you keep up to date with the news, and what happens in the sports industry actually a lot of skills are transferable because sports, for example, sports team needs, communication team, you know, operation, team, marketing, and finance, all sorts of stuff. So a lot of skills are transferable, but just keep an eye on the news and what's happening in industry. And then there's actually some platform resources I recommend. So Sports Business Journal is definitely a very good platform. It just gives you a very detailed news. And then there's also other like countless platform for sports news like Bleacher Report Athletics, and also, there's actually an educational platform that they interview athletes and talk with people who are in the sport industry is called The Boardroom. I think that's a very good resources. I've been to out their sessions with Kevin Durant. And he is you can learn a lot of insider views. And also another just, we have a classmate, she's also a sports management student at NYU, she started her own podcast called Adventures with Aggie so she interviews people, it could be athletes, or people who are in sports industry, like involved in different ways. She interviews them and adds them on Apple and Spotify. So that's something like if you don't have the opportunity to get a degree in and maybe there's those ways you can learn more about like, the insights in this industry. So I don't think. Yeah, I just don't think you know, degree is necessarily like, required is definitely not.
Right. Thanks so much for sharing all the resources. Do you have like any other advice you have for someone interested to start a career in like football or sports?
Yeah, I think what I did is I participated in events, you know, even volunteering. I was a high school, every time I went back to China, I just find people in my city, like who are hosting games, I just kinda interview, you know, I reached out to people myself. So I think by doing all that you actually know more people who already in the industry and share the same interest as you do. So by doing things together, I think that's more so like organic connection is not that you just reaching out people just you, it's the purpose, very obvious, I feel that will be a closer connection than you know, just plan to reaching out to people. So just don't hesitate to talk to people who are already in industry, I think they're always willing to give out advice, and also just expect that sports and football industry are very connection oriented, like you have to know some people in order to you know, really break into it. I mean, I'm not saying you have to go like anything, it's better to have some connection.
Right, right. Of course. I mean, how do you find these volunteer opportunities or event opportunities? For those who are, you know, at home not knowing where to start?
Yes, so. So what I did is, I, it's kind of like, weird to say, because I know, like, I know, a lot of friends on Instagram, and just you know, I just came across their profile. And I think what they're doing for example, some, a lot of my friends are freestyle players. I just think what they are doing are very cool, and I messaged them. So actually the friend who introduced me to, you know, there were a lot volunteer opportunity, a person I didn't know him, but I just came across his profile was in high school, and he just asked do you want to join me as a staff member for a tournament and I actually worked their organ tournament two years in a row and definitely knew a lot of people in the industry. So just actually don't hesitate to reach out people like whom I have or who share the same interest is not always the result and who might help you in the end it just, you know, just talk to more people. I don't know this out why is it just might not sound like that concrete, but this is true, like, you know, by talking to people, you know, what might pop out like, what are some common things you guys might be interested? But to be honest, like in terms of, you know, what kind of website to go to, I actually don't know, because I never really done things like that way. But I'm sure if you know, always maybe go to the events that interest you their website, they always I think they always have volunteer opportunities to also search for non-profits like I think there's always going to be resources, you just it, just don't limit yourself. And if you're entering something, just search for it, and the results may surprise you.
All right. So either search online for non-profits or just slide into people's DM's.
Yes, it kinda sounds creepy. And now think about it sounds very weird. I don't think Instagram's DMs, not that popular, but like, I just commented all his polls, nothing about like I just when I was younger, maybe more so. I didn't think about it that much.
Now in a digital age, now, it's fine. Right?
It's just that people commented me, and the more they display into my dm, I wouldn't really judge them. So don't worry.
All right. Okay, one last thing. is Passion FC offering any internships or any career opportunities that you can share with the audience?
Yes, definitely. So like I said, before we are have like we are. We have 12 interns right now this semester. So our founder actually, like he answered his question himself, because I had to show him the questions beforehand. And he says always. Like, we always welcome like applicants or people who are looking for, like experiences in this kind of field, or, more importantly, people who share the same passion and interest of helping the movement.
How can they go? Go on to apply?
Yeah, again, you can slide into our DMs or like, contact us, or our email or because sometimes we may not have like applications, like job subscription out there on LinkedIn or something like that. But just always, don't hesitate to reach out, like, slide into our DMs like or just email us. I think you'll yet again, provide our emails, addresses and then yeah, that's it, just reach out to us. If there's no postings on the websites,
Do you have to be in the U.S. to apply or can you work internationally?
No. Yeah, we have like, interns and team members all across the globe. So it's not located is not an issue. Maybe just sometimes, you know, communication is a bit harder. But that's not a problem for us. You know, we welcome people around the world to join the movement to furthering our goal together.
That's awesome to hear! You say anyone looking for internships can go and hit up Passion FC, by sliding into their DMs. Okay
and that kind of concludes like the career series, episode one. So thank you, everyone, for tuning in to our career series, brought to you by Soccer Girl Goals and Passion FC. As mentioned at the start the interview, we hope that this series can show people that playing football and having a passion for football can provide opportunities for you both within and also beyond football. So thank you so much. And thanks, Lucy for joining us today.
And for sharing all your stories. Yeah,
Thank you guys. Yeah, so always if anyone has questions for me, just please feel free to DM me. Like you know, I like all kinds of questions are welcome and happy to answer any questions and help everybody who are in need of my advice.
Say bye bye.
Bye. Thank you, guys.