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Speaker Series

Leveling the Playing Field: Women in Soccer pays tribute to Jackie Robinson’s barrier-breaking legacy by highlighting how women of color are changing the landscape of the world’s game today. Our panel of players, coaches, journalists, and executives will explore the growing presence for women of color on the US Women’s National Team and in the National Women’s Soccer League in recent years, pay equity, representation in front office and team ownership roles, and career pathways for girls and young women as players and beyond.

View selected clips from this event

 

Kia McNeill on the importance of future generations being able to "see it to be it"

 

Danita Johnson on operating from a place of confidence, not fear

 

Bekah Salwasser on the transition from elite player to front office leadership

 

Darian Jenkins on building community around representation in the NWSL

 

Renee Washington on defying microaggressions

Meet the Panelists:

Darian Jenkins, Broadcast analyst, former NWSL player, and member of the Black Women’s Player Collective
Between 2017 and 2023, Darian Jenkins played professionally in France and Australia and with the North Carolina Courage, OL Reign, Orlando Pride and Kansas City in the NWSL, winning an NWSL championship in 2018 with North Carolina. Jenkins also won a national championship in college with the UCLA Bruins. She is currently serving as a CBS Sports analyst on “Attacking Third,” “Morning Footy,” and “Box to Box” on the Golazo Network covering soccer globally and analyst on ION covering NWSL matches every Saturday and a color analyst for MSG local broadcast. Jenkins previously served as Gotham FC chief of staff.

Danita Johnson,  President, Business Operations, DC United
Danita Johnson is a seasoned sports and entertainment executive and member of Sports Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2023 and ESSENCE Power 40 Class of 2023. Johnson serves as the President of Business Operations for Major League Soccer’s most decorated club, D.C. United, a role she has held since January 2021. Notably, she is the first Black President of an MLS Club and only the third woman in league history to serve in this role. Prior to joining D.C. United, Johnson had 15 years of experience in the sports industry, including several roles in the WNBA, NBA, and NBA G League, specializing in revenue generation, community programs, and digital media and marketing.

Kia McNeill, Head Coach, Women’s Soccer, Brown University
Now in her eighth season as head coach, Kia McNeill leads the 4-peat undefeated Ivy League Champion women’s soccer team at Brown University (2019, 2021, 2022, 2023), where she has also been recognized twice as Ivy League Coach of the Year and East Region Coach of the Year. McNeill comes to her coaching career after a decorated college and professional playing career. McNeill was a four-year starter at Boston College, where she was the eighth all-time leading scorer, and a professional player in Sweden, Russia, and the US between 2008 and 2014.

Bekah Salwasser, Executive Director, Red Sox Foundation & Executive Vice President of Social Impact, Boston Red Sox; former professional soccer player, Boston Breakers
Bekah Salwasser has dedicated her career to serving the community through promoting and amplifying social justice initiatives. She has been involved with various nonprofits including Scholar Athletes, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, and the Lacrosse and Learning Center. As Executive Vice President, Social Impact for the Red Sox, Bekah continues to champion and advocate for equity and inclusion through the Foundation’s giving strategies, programming, fundraising, sponsorships, and capacity building that help build the brand and strengthen the impact of the Foundation within the New England community. Bekah brings her experience as an athlete to her work around sports and social justice. Salwasser played collegiate soccer for Brown University before playing professionally for the USL W-League Boston Renegades and the WUSA Boston Breakers.

Renee Washington, PHLY Sports host, ESPN and NWSL Analyst (Moderator)
Renee Washington is a sports reporter and analyst that works with PHLY Sports hosting daily shows on the Philadelphia Union and Phillies. She is an analyst with MSG Networks and CBS Sports covering the NWSL. She has also worked as a college reporter with ESPN as a sideline reporter and analyst. The Ewing, NJ native has covered all sports collegiately or professionally through work with the NBA, MLB, WNBA, NFL, NLL, MLS, and NWSL. In her playing career, Renee is a former three-time all-American and soccer hall of famer from La Salle University. She had an opportunity to play with Sky Blue FC (now Gotham FC) before becoming a coach at Lehigh University where she received her masters.

Tickets

$25 Adults
$20 Seniors/Youth/College Students/Visitors with disabilities
$15 Museum members (join here)

Tickets include Museum Admission from 5:00 – 6:00PM and light refreshments in addition to the panel discussion.

Special Offer from NJ/NY Gotham FC

Special offer from NJ/NY Gotham FC! Leveling The Playing Field: Women in Soccer event attendees will be eligible to redeem two complimentary tickets to your choice of Gotham FC home games in June, first come first served.

Sponsorship

Presenting Sponsor of Leveling the Playing Field: Sheila Johnson Foundation

Interested in becoming a sponsor for this event? Contact [email protected].

Special Events

The Museum will be open on Wednesday, June 19 in honor of Juneteenth. Dig into the enduring legacy of Jackie Robinson and his trailblazing achievements against the backdrop of United States history.

Groups are welcome! Complete the request form on the Group Visit page.

Walking Tour

WALKING TOUR AND DIGITAL RESOURCE

Jackie Robinson’s Harlem brings to light Jackie Robinson’s multifaceted and decades-long engagement with Harlem as an athlete, citizen, activist, businessman, and family man. Explore sites including Jackie Robinson Park, Freedom National Bank, and the Jackie Robinson Clothing Store and re-discover lesser known stories like that of the first Jackie Robinson Day and Robinson’s relationship with high profile Harlem leaders like Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Malcolm X.

CHECK IT OUT

TWO WAYS TO EXPLORE:

Self-guided walking tour
Get the app on the App Store or Google Play for everything you need to explore the walking tour on your own or together with friends or family.

   

Online
Virtually visit Harlem from any mobile or desktop device to explore the featured sites and stories: https://jackierobinsonmuseum.stqry.app/1/tour/20329

RECORRIDO A PIE Y RECURSO DIGITAL

El Harlem de Jackie Robinson saca a la luz el compromiso multifacético y de décadas de Jackie Robinson con Harlem como atleta, ciudadano, activista, hombre de negocios y hombre de familia. Explora sitios como el Parque Jackie Robinson, el Banco Nacional de la Libertad y la Tienda de Ropa Jackie Robinson y redescubre historias menos conocidas como la del primer Día de Jackie Robinson y la relación de Robinson con líderes de alto perfil de Harlem como Adam Clayton Powell Jr. y Malcolm X.

DOS MANERAS DE EXPLORAR:

Recorrido autoguiado a pie
Obtén la aplicación en App Store o Google Play para todo lo que necesitas para explorar el recorrido a pie a solas o junto con amigos, amigas o familiares.

     

En línea
Visita a Harlem virtualmente desde cualquier dispositivo móvil o de escritorio para explorar los sitios e historias importantes: https://jackierobinsonmuseum.stqry.app/es/1

HOURS: 11 AM - 6 PM, Thu - Sun