By: NWSL Editor
A New Era of Professional Development for Athletes: NWSL and UKG Launch "Beyond the Field"

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and UKG have teamed up to introduce "Beyond the Field,” an innovative professional development program offering a variety of resources designed to support and empower NWSL players in achieving their career goals beyond the pitch.

This new initiative underscores the commitment of both the NWSL and UKG to provide equitable opportunity for all through comprehensive career support and guidance to help all players succeed in every aspect of their professional lives.

“Our partnership with the NWSL is inspired by a desire to be part of the solution to address inequities still found in our world today, specifically when it comes to women in their careers,” said Meghan Setzer, Group Vice President of Marketing Communications at UKG. “We are honored to support the development of a first-of-its-kind program like Beyond the Field that will connect these talented athletes with tools and guidance to fuel their career growth and aspirations off the field.”

“Beyond the Field” will follow a thoughtful and carefully planned curriculum with specific touchpoints for program participants to track their progress, redefine goals and meaningfully reflect on learnings. Curriculums will cater to early-to-mid career athletes as well as a more in-depth career transition program for those gearing up for retirement.

Empowering Players with Comprehensive Resources

"Beyond the Field," the league’s first-ever professional development program, provides a new level of support for NWSL athletes in their career journeys, including a suite of tools, services, and events aimed at fostering personal and professional growth off the pitch. Integrating into the league’s existing Teamworks player portal, the program offers a centralized hub where players can seamlessly access valuable, self-paced and career-oriented content as well as other resources, updates, and communications. Key features of this platform include:

  • Resume Writing and Project Management Courses: Equipping players with essential skills for their future careers
  • Interview Coaching and Negotiation Skills: Providing personalized coaching to enhance players' confidence and competence in job interviews
  • Networking Best Practices: Offering strategies and techniques to build and maintain professional relationships effectively
  • Professional Development Services: A range of services aimed at supporting continuous learning and development

Athletes will also have access to professional development courses relevant to their careers both on and off the pitch, such as leadership, analytics, communications, financial literacy, and personal investment.

Engaging Workshops and Inspiring Speaker Series

Another highlight of the "Beyond the Field" program is its interactive workshops designed to offer players practical learnings delivered by industry experts in fields such as entrepreneurship, sports management, broadcast, entertainment and technology. Workshops will also incorporate a dynamic speaker series featuring leaders from their respective fields. These sessions are designed to inspire and educate players on various aspects of personal and professional development.

Culmination at the NWSL Championship

At the end of each NWSL season, "Beyond the Field" will culminate in a three-day career development event at the NWSL Championship. This event will consist of a variety of programming including:

  • Networking and Leadership Engagement Sessions: Opportunities for players to
    connect with industry leaders and peers
  • Career-Planning Seminars: Workshops focused on helping players chart their
    career paths post-soccer
  • Professional Skills Development: Hands-on training sessions to enhance players' competencies in various professional domains
  • Personal Branding Sessions: Guidance on building and maintaining a strong personal brand, including social media strategies and self-promotion techniques
  • Wellness Conversations: Discussions centered around maintaining a healthy work-life balance and overall well-being

Dedicated Program Oversight

The NWSL’s People and Culture function designed “Beyond the Field” with key insights from experts, partners, and athletes, and the league has onboarded a dedicated program manager to manage the launch and ongoing operations of the program. "Our goal at the NWSL is to provide all players with a holistic experience that empowers them to pursue their career aspirations both on and off the pitch,” said NWSL Director of Programming, Briana Gilmartin. “Our players are more than just world-class athletes - they’re entrepreneurs, mentors, creators, and activists who strive to maximize their impact, not only in sports but also in their communities and beyond. We’re proud to continue supporting their growth and development with this unique program.”

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