Recently competing in her 100th game for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, Utah Royals FC forward Christen Press is leaving a global legacy outside the game too. From South Africa to South Side Chicago, the 2015 FIFA U.S. Women’s World Cup Champion and 2011 Women’s Professional Soccer League’s Rookie of the Year continues to support a wide range of issues close to her heart.
A longtime ambassador for Grassroots Soccer (GRS), an organization that uses soccer as a tool to tackle issues related to gender equality and sexual health among women and girls around the world, Press recently became a GRS global board member. Serving as an active, hands-on advocate, Press spent four days visiting one of the organization’s programs in Khayelitsha, South Africa, in 2015. She also frequently leverages her social media following to spread awareness about the work of GRS and promote sexual health.
Press is just as devoted to her former Chicago community where she played with the Chicago Red Stars for four seasons, including her last two seasons as team captain. In June 2017, Press helped donate $43,000 worth of athletic gear to girls soccer players involved with the Chicago Public Schools SCORE program, which stands for “Sports Can Open Roads to Excellence.” She made her donation in partnership with Good Sports, an organization that provides athletic apparel and equipment donations to those in need in all 50 states.
“I feel like it’s really important for girls to feel like they have the opportunity to participate in the sports world and the sports community,” Press shared with the girls receiving the donation. “Sports can give you confidence, and they helped me to learn who I was as a person, and to learn my strengths and what I needed to work on to grow as a person.”
Press is an advocate for a wide variety of other causes too, including mental health and animal cruelty. This past September, Press and fellow soccer player Ashlyn Harris donated their jerseys to TWLOHA (To Write Love on Her Arms), an organization focused on suicide prevention and treating addiction and depression. Ultimately, they helped the organization raise nearly $134,000 through TWLOHA’s campaign for World Suicide Prevention Day and National Suicide Prevention Week.
In 2016, Press also used her platform to help promote PETA’s “Adopt, Don’t Shop” campaign. Every year, six to eight million cats and dogs in the U.S. enter shelters, with half of them euthanized because of a lack of good homes. Through the campaign, Press encouraged caring owners to adopt from pet shelters rather than perpetuating the problem by buying from pet stores or breeders.
A Los Angeles native and now globetrotting soccer star with stints on teams around the U.S. and in Sweden, Press has proven herself as a dedicated athlete and global humanitarian who is showing no signs of letting up on or off the field.