A big fan of the USWNT, student-footballer Abigail Gerken is on her way to making a career out of her passion for football. She is currently working to get her dual degree in sports management and business finance.
Abigail aspires to get her masters in sports and business law, then work in a sports agency primarily focusing on female athletes and those who are overlooked.
We caught up with Abigail Gerken to hear about her career, her aspirations via football and her love for the game.
Sarah Fatima: When did you take up football and what was your story behind doing so?
Abigail Gerken: I started playing football at the age of four. I played all throughout high school. It was probably in seventh grade when I really fell in love with professional sports. I remember walking into CenturyLink field in Seattle Washington, Home of the Seattle Sounders.
After witnessing 48 thousand fans screaming and chanting for their favourite team, I was hooked. When I started to learn more about professional soccer, I became a huge fan of the USWNT and NWSL.
You’re still studying, and you plan on becoming a sports agent in the future. Where did you get the inspiration to do so?
I always knew I wanted to work in the sports industry, I did not know what specifically until I heard about Nicole Lynn. She is a female sports agent in the NFL, by researching what she does and seeing her insight on the industry, I knew that is where I wanted to be. I believe that if you find an intersection between a cause that you are passionate about and a way to make a living, that is a perfect career.
Also, learning about the USWNT fight for pay equality made me develop an interest in female athletes. I want to advocate for their pay and benefits to be equal to their male counterparts and be respected in all aspects of the sport.
Learning about the USWNT fight for pay equality made me develop an interest in female athletes. I want to advocate for their pay and benefits to be equal to their male counterparts and be respected in all aspects of the sport.
Has there been someone in your life, a coach, a mentor, a player who has greatly inspired you?
My soccer coach during my high school years influenced me a lot. She showed me how you could take a passion for the sport and turn it into a career. She has helped me get involved with coaching and mentoring youth at the club. Prior to playing for her, I never thought of soccer as anything more than a hobby, but she pushed me to incorporate it into my life in many ways.
Which football tournament is your favourite, and why?
My favourite is the classic World Cup. I love what it stands for. Unity, passion, and worldwide involvement makes it so special to me. Seeing fans from all over the world tune in to support their country makes me so happy. A fun fact about myself is every time I watch World Cup promotional videos, I always cry. The passion and excitement get to me and hits me right in the heart.
What are your plans for the future? Where is your career headed?
My plan is to get my dual degree in sports management and business finance. I plan on keeping up with my writing and social media for Switch the Pitch, and hopefully land a couple of internships with Washington State University Athletics. My goal is to get my masters in sports and business law, then work in a sports agency. I want to primarily work with female athletes and those who are overlooked.
Who are some players you look up to?
My favourite player is Julie Ertz. Her tenacity and high work ethic are unmatched. She is the engine of the USWNT and I have been a huge fan of her since the 2015 World Cup. I love her style of play. I had a similar positional switch (centre back to defensive midfielder) during my high school years of playing, so looking up to her helped me become a better player.
Also, I would never play a game without my Julie Ertz Blue pre-wrap it is my good luck charm!
A fun fact about myself is every time I watch World Cup promotional videos, I always cry. The passion and excitement gets to me and hits me right into the heart.
Any advice for young female athletes out there?
Keep pushing to get into the places where decisions are being made. Keep breaking glass ceilings and advocate for more diversity wherever you are. Stand up for yourself and know your worth. And as always, give back to your community and help inspire other women who want to work in the industry.