Drinking, partying, and pressure to explore homosexuality are common within women’s sports, but this does not need to be the norm, according to former college athlete Samantha Kelley.


While the “transgender” issue is a new challenge in women’s sports, it has long been “statistically proven that college athletes party more [and] drink more than the normal student population,” says Kelley, the founder and president of FIERCE Athlete. Athletes are “under so much pressure and under so much scrutiny, and even more so today with social media,” she added.


An athlete herself, including playing Division I soccer at the University of Connecticut, Kelley founded FIERCE Athlete seven years ago after growing frustrated with the culture of women’s sports and realizing that her experience in college was not unique.


“We were hazed,” Kelley said of her freshman year of playing college soccer. “A third of our team was ‘lesbian’ and would try to convince you that you were, too.”


FIERCE Athlete serves as a resource to female athletes at all levels, providing them with training, mentorship, and resources to navigate the challenges of sport and grow in an understanding of femininity. FIERCE stands for Femininity, Identity, Embodiment, Receptivity, Catholicism, and Encounter—the core pillars of the organization.


Because coaches play a vital role in setting the culture of any sports team, Kelley launched FIERCE Coach with Tracy Guerrette earlier this year to empower coaches with the knowledge they need to lead female athletes.


Kelley and Guerrette join the “Problematic Women” podcast to share the challenges they faced as athletes and to explain how their organization is seeking to change the culture of women’s sports. They also discuss why culture’s definition of femininity is not God’s definition and how they have incorporated the teachings of (now Saint) Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body into their work as a tool to empower women to feel confident in their physical body.


Check out the FIERCE Athlete website here: https://fierceathlete.org/


Listen to the FIERCE Athlete Podcast here: https://fierceathlete.org/podcast


Order a copy of “BE FIERCE: The Athlete’s Guide to Growing Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually” here: https://www.amazon.com/BE-FIERCE-Athletes-Physically-Spiritually/dp/B0C1J2Q9TX.



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