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‘She looks just like you!’ USWNT players discuss importance of representation

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Alana Cook and Margaret Purce are pushing for change. (Brad Smith/Getty Images)

U.S. women’s national team stars Margaret Purce, Alana Cook and Naomi Girma recently sat down with soccer icon Briana Scurry to discuss why representation matters.

“Once I was on club teams, I was mainly only the Black player, and I think that was an adjustment for me coming from the community and family life,” Girma told Scurry. “I think being one of the only ones can make people hesitant to join when they don’t see themselves represented in that space.”

Now, as professional athletes, Purce, Cook and Girma are inspiring a younger generation of players to get involved in the sport.

“You go up to a little girl and she’ll either look at her mom or her parents will look at me and go, ‘She looks just like you!’ You see their eyes light up, and it’s that moment of them realizing this space could also belong to me. I could also be there,” Cook said. “When you see it, you believe it.”

As dynamic players on the pitch, Purce, Cook and Girma are changing what many young people see as possible for themselves while also changing America’s professional league.

Purce, a board member of the Black Women’s Player Collective, spearheaded the organization’s creation, which aims to advance the opportunities for Black girls in sport and beyond.

“In 2020 during the protests for Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the discourse, we were talking about race in this country, race relations and truthfully just what reality is for some Americans and that was when a lot of us decided it’s not about convincing other people to believe what I’m telling you is my experience, it’s not about that anymore. It’s about helping those who have those shared experiences and those feelings to just access the sport that has given so much back to us,” Purce said of the BWPC’s genesis.

Watch the full interview: