On Thursday, Utah Royals FC welcomed the Goals for Girls Summit to the Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman, Utah for a three-day leadership summit. Part of an international campaign, the Goals for Girls initiative provides the opportunity for current and former professional soccer players to teach young women leadership skills centered around the game of soccer.
This year it’s the National Women’s Soccer League newest team’s turn to host the international summit where girls from not only Utah, but India have gathered to learn and savor empowerment through soccer. This year’s summit becomes the first one held in the state of Utah after previously being held in Africa and India among other locations around the world. During the summit, the girls will participate in various soccer drills, lunch with URFC players as well as being able to participate in panel discussions and hear stories directly from Royals FC players.
“To be able to give back in a community event like this not only to the state, but on a global scale is really exciting,” RSL Director of Community Relations Mary VanMinde explained. “We’ve been really fortunate to have girls from not only the entire state of Utah, but from India through an amazing partnership that allows us all to come together for an event such as this.”
During the opening day of the summit, the theme of “Rise Up!” was implemented as the girls were encouraged to be confident and show resiliency when faced with adversity. Being no stranger to adversity, URFC and current USWNT forward Amy Rodriguez reiterated the importance of being resilient when faced with life’s challenges.
“Resilience is something that has been crucial and prevalent in my life and in my playing career,” Rodriguez reflected. “Resilience is something that I’ve had to show throughout my career and today in the leadership summit I wanted to show the girls how important it is to always be strong.”
With girls from all around the world joining with girls from Utah at the summit, the gathering allows participants to learn directly from one another having carried different perspectives to Utah. For Rodriguez, having individuals from different cultural backgrounds becomes vital to the lessons learned at the summit.
“When I found out there would be girls here from all over the world coming here to Utah, I was fascinated,” Rodriguez said. “Our soccer experiences are so different and when we come together and share each experience, we’re all able to grow. That’s what this whole thing is about.”
After Thursday’s opening day, the summit will continue through Saturday afternoon and be capped with participants of the summit taking in the Royals FC match against Sky Blue FC at Rio Tinto Stadium at 8:00 p.m. MT.