Flame Bearers Special Edition: U.S. Women's Soccer Originals

As the world tunes in for the ninth Women’s World Cup, it’s hard to imagine a time when professional women’s soccer didn’t exist. In 1985, 17 of the b…
Aug 18th, 2023 | 17:30

Special Edition: U.S. Women's Soccer Originals (Kathy Ridgewell-Williams)

While Kathy (or Ridgey as she was called) had older sisters, she grew up playing with the boys, and doing so in what SHE wanted to wear. Just as Kathy started public elementary school, the rules changed to allow girls to wear pants (Kathy's older sisters had been required to wear dresses or skirts). As Kathy shares, Mom "tried to get me in dresses on picture day, and I would sneak out my brother's hand me downs." Michelle can relate... By fourth grade, Kathy was faster than all of the kids in her school. She "always had speed on her side." She cites the "old man on the bicycle" as one of the most influential people on her game sharing, "He was just this old soccer guy and because there was no soccer anywhere, and the kids were playing, he gave me a couple of pointers on how to do one on ones." And that changed everything. To the "old man," wherever you are, thank you for coaching and inspiring one of the legends of the first USWNT. We hear from soccer teammate Diana Inch, who played with Kathy for years and against Michelle, so was along for the "rollercoaster of soccer." Flash forward to today, and Kathy is the Assistant Director, Innovation and Performance in the Washington State Office of the Governor. She explains what that means but essentially, she holds state agencies accountable for "moving towards equitable solutions." Takeaway: Kathy hasn't only broken barriers in soccer, but also in the statehouse. Media used in this production: -38 years after making history, first USWNT to be honored at Asheville City regular season finale, Chris Womack, June 29th 2023, -The Forgotten Early History of Women’s Soccer, Laurent Dubois, January 22, 2016 -ESPN YouTube Channel, 'USWNT win the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage | 2023 ESPYS (📍 @CapitalOne)'