How Claire Winter Seized ‘limited’ Opportunities in Women’s Professional Soccer
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
One of the most famous sports that people love to watch is soccer. However, ladies who play it well, are oftentimes left out not having their skills and potential noticed in a fast-paced game wherein men pretty much dominate. Claire Winter is not spared from this even though she was one of the star players at the Women’s Soccer Team of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where they were awarded 2013 NCAA Champions during her freshmen year and 2017 NCAA Runner-Up during her reign as Co-Captain.
She admitted during the 29th episode of The Globally Ballin Podcast that opportunities for women’s professional soccer are not promoted enough unlike with the men’s division; that’s why agents are vital if a female athlete wants to pursue playing the sport professionally.
“There are so many talented women soccer players that don’t get opportunities because of the limited teams, [as compared to] the men’s,” she said.
She added that it was only during winning games in the World Cup where the women’s team reached its peak but that lasted for only a few months.
“I think that’s the problem we need to fix – we have to keep it in the upward momentum.”
Claire emphasized the importance of agents because, after her successful stint at UCLA, she wasn’t drafted in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) but still ended up playing at Tovo Academy in Barcelona, Spain.
“While I was in Spain, I had no agent and got taken advantage of especially I don’t speak Spanish...so I suggest you get an agent based on [the] country [you want to play in] that has connections.”
Earlier in 2019, UCLA Assistant Coach Jenny Bindon gave Claire a breakthrough email saying that a club in Puerto Rico is looking for new players.
With her burning passion for soccer, she jumped right into it and eventually made it in Puerto Rico Sol Football Club based in Mayaguez where she played as a midfielder.
“I started off the season [and during] my first game, I scored a hat-trick [which] was probably my first hat-trick since around high school,” she told Globally Ballin.
In any sport, Claire said that it’s important to know someone who has an opportunity or at least ask someone about it because it’s hard to find those opportunities on your own.
“The only reason I’m here is because of my assistant coach from UCLA and I made the call.”
“Being your own advocate, being proactive, and if this is what you really wanted to do, there’s no one stopping you – you just have to find the right opportunity,” she added.
Despite having a successful soccer journey in Puerto Rico, Claire’s end-goal is still to play in the NWSL as it is the toughest league for her in terms of competition where they have top teams from every country with which to play against.
This piece was written by Carla Molina, a common contributor for Globally Ballin check out the link below to see all the articles by Carla Molina that revisit past episodes of the network in bring the story of the guests to article form as well.