Joanna Lohman, Badass soccer Player , Washington Spirit, the National Women’s Soccer League. Coach. Mentor.

ORIGIN: What sets your soul on fire?
Joanna Lohman:
Doing what I love each and every day. For me, this has been the journey of becoming a professional soccer player and sustaining a 12-year career. As a current member of the Washington Spirit, when I walk off the field exhausted, drenched in sweat, knowing I pushed myself to the physical, mental, and emotional limits, there is no better feeling. Playing the game in front of thousands of fans, many of whom have followed my entire career—the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens—and never left my side. As a professional athlete, I have an incredible platform to inspire, impact, and deeply affect another human being. It sets my soul on fire.

ORIGIN: What are the labels you’ve been called that impacted you and how did you transform them?
Athlete, Lesbian, Jock, Tomboy. I realize that labels are placed upon an individual to simplify him or her, but it is impossible to capture the essence of an individual by a few words. While I have embraced my specific labels because I am all of those things, I also know I am so many others. I am a multi-dimensional woman who pushes boundaries and dares to be herself.

ORIGIN: Any relating to your body or appearance? How did you transform them?
Because of my compact and muscular body composition, my short hair, and my “Johawk,” I have been mistaken for a boy on many occasions. Each time it happens, it feels like I have been punched in the gut. It is extremely discouraging. I do realize, however, while striving to be your true self to the level I do, there will be pushback, resistance, and misunderstanding. I look at each of these experiences as an opportunity to educate and make the path potentially less daunting for anyone else that follows in my footsteps.

ORIGIN: Why is it so important that we empower women + girls right now?
There are women & girls who are pushing the boundaries for what society deems as “normal.” We need these pioneers to inspire future generations to dream big and strive to achieve those dreams. If a young girl feels comfortable to pursue her passion, we as a collective will be stronger and more equipped to face the challenges life presents.

ORIGIN: What causes are you passionate about?
Sports Diplomacy: Using the universal passion for sports as a way to transcend linguistic and sociocultural differences and bring people together:
LGBT Organizations, Athlete Ally: Educate and activate athletic communities to eliminate homophobia and transphobia in sports.

Joanna Lohman, a three-time Academic All-American at Penn State University, has spent 12 years in the Professional Soccer circuit including 7 caps with the United States Women’s National Team. She currently plays midfield for the Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League. She is also a coach, mentor, world traveler, TedX Alum & dream chaser. | |

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