From Left to right: Todd Smith, Edson McClellan, Kerri McClellan, Julie Foudy and Ian Sawyers
The concept behind the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy all started with this group of five. The “fab five”, “the fearless five”, “the founding five”..…all are names that we have tossed around, only to end in laughter. Call us what you want, here is the cast of characters (and characters is the right word!):
Julie Foudy (Stanford University, B.S.): You already have my bio. What it doesn’t say is how the JFSLA would have never been a reality without the incredible passion and work of the other four. So, enough about me, on to the others…..
Ian Sawyers (Carnegie College, B.Ed (Honors) England): Former professional and collegiate soccer coach…and also my hubby and great father of Izzy and Declan. Ian was the head coach of the WUSA’s San Jose Cyberrays for all three years of the league’s existence. As much as it pains me to say, they won the League Championship the first year, which was 2001. Regretfully, the San Diego Spirit, my team, never won. Recently Ian was a Head Coach and General Manager in the 2nd Women’s Pro League, the WPS. Ian and I have been offering girls’ soccer camps for 14years before launching the Sports Leadership Academy concept.
Todd Smith (Lafayette College, B.A.; Lehigh University, M.Ed.): The current Athletic Director and Head Women's Soccer Coach at The Montclair Kimberley Academy (MKA) in Montclair, New Jersey. The former soccer player/DJ extraordinaire is known to throw out a rap and beatbox or two (students at past JFSLA’s can vouch for this one). Although he can compete with Eminem, his creative ideas and passion for the JFSLA are what impress us most.
Kerri McClellan (University of California Berkeley, B.A.): Kerri, one of my best friends, and I grew up playing soccer together (from the age of 7) for the Mission Viejo Soccerettes (Go Green Machine!). Kerri never ceases to amaze us with the number of different hats she can wear, and mind you, not just wear, but wear flawlessly. First and foremost, she wears the hat of MOTHER to three adorable girls, Megan, Madison and Macy! Kerri then runs the Julie Foudy Leadership Foundation and also helps the JFSLA behind the scenes on a daily basis.
Edson McClellan (University of Pennsylvania, B.A.; University of San Diego, JD): Edson is Kerri’s husband and grew up on the East Coast in New Jersey. In fact, he grew up on the campus of one of our JFSLA locations, the Peddie School. Edson, a lawyer in Southern California, and Kerri are the link that brought us all together. Todd and Edson have known each other for years. Edson and Kerri introduced us to Todd in 2004…..and on that day the idea behind the JFSLA became a REALITY!
The history behind the JFSLA (the very short version):
So, rewind to 2004… Edson and Kerri have just introduced us to Todd. Ian and I had always wanted to do “more” with our soccer camps in regards to teaching young girls about leadership lessons on the field and in life. Todd had the same idea in mind. We all quickly discovered that we had the same vision: we wanted it to be hands-on, self-affirming, and life-altering. We decided that we should form an Academy that would combine soccer and leadership. We wanted these young girls to come back to us in 10-15 years and tell us how the Academy changed their lives. Two years later, we successfully launched the first ever Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy in the summer of 2006. We have not stopped smiling since. Going forward, we will continue to live by our motto: LIVE. LEAD. PASS IT ON!