Julie Foudy On Creating Team Culture
Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy), a PCA National Advisory Board Member, played midfield for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (1987-2004), winning two World Cup titles and two Olympic Gold Medals. A 2007 inductee into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, she now works as an ESPN Analyst and runs the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy, teaching leadership skills to youth.
As a former captain, Foudy places a lot of importance on creating team culture and on accepting teammates. One way she approached both of these situations was to put a positive focus on the opportunity to welcome new players to the team. In fact, Foudy refers to this as welcoming new players to the “family”, a clear indication that she held her teammates in high regard. Instead of an initiation where rookies felt like lesser members of the team by being forced to carry the balls, refill the waters or perform other menial tasks, she made sure everyone on the team was helping out equally. This had the effect of putting everyone on the same level and reducing any sense of hierarchy.
Foudy helped create this culture of togetherness by reinforcing a competitive environment on the field. Every player worked hard, from starter to new member, and that was what drove the team to success. She urges other leaders and captains to make similar decisions, exercising their power to define their team culture.