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Soccer Star Julie Foudy Talks Self-Esteem, Sports & Staying Fit

Former U.S. Women's Soccer Team Captain and current ESPN host Julie Foudy has teamed up with the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem, encouraging women to commit to spending one hour doing a self-esteem building activity with a girl in their life during Dove Self-Esteem Weekend (October 21st - 23rd). We got the chance to ask Julie about her participation in the program as well as her own empowering endeavorer, Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy (plus a bit of beauty, of course!).

FITNESS: What was the inspiration behind starting your own leadership academy?
Julie Foudy: I was running soccer camps for a long time and it was solely just soccer. When I retired in 2004, I thought oh-my-gosh, we should be teaching these girls so much more than just how to kick a ball. The beauty of sports for me has always been life lessons, confidence, self-esteem, how to deal with adversity and being apart of a team. So a small group of us got together to create and mix all of those elements together. We all realized the tremendous value that the game has on building strong character traits, so we started the academy with the message of self-esteem and confidence-building.

FITNESS: What do you feel is the most beneficial aspect that your foundation provides to girls?
JF: It’s that they leave empowered.A real epiphany occurred when the girls would leave camp,and we would get constant feedback from parents about how their kids are more confident and starting their own leadership projects. It’s really empowering to have these young girls be leaders in their own communities and take chances.The truth is only 4% of women identify themselves as beautiful, so it’s incredibly important to put the seeds of knowledge into young girls.We use soccer as the vehicle to transport a greater message.

FITNESS: Why did you decide to get involved with the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem? 
JF: I got involved with Dove because they matched up with my own beliefs. At the academy, I have my girls watch the Dove Evolution video. Dove’s campaign is so important to me especially since I have a 4-½ year-old, Izzy. She is already saying things like, “Mommy, do I look beautiful?” In my house, I’m teaching that beauty is on the inside; even at an early age this issue needs to be addressed. At the leadership academy that is exactly what we are doing.

FITNESS: What advice would you give to young women to improve and maintain a healthy self-esteem?
JF: To laugh out loud, to take that step. To not be afraid to be silly, to have fun and to take risks! One of the things girls tend to do is step back instead of forward; follow your gut and surround yourself with a good support system. FITNESS: What is your beauty routine before going on camera? In everyday life?
JF: I’m lucky when I’m at ESPN because they do my hair and makeup. I’m not the best with makeup at all; I didn’t learn how to apply mascara until I was out of college. So, in my everyday life, I don’t wear that much makeup.

FITNESS:What are your go-to beauty products for when you are on the go?
JF: I love M.A.C. Cosmetics, and my go-to mascara is Maybelline Great Lash. It's the best and makeup artists swear by it!

FITNESS:What types of workouts do you do? 
JF: When I played soccer,I had a good motor and I loved to run. I still run quite a bit, but after having two kids,I realized I needed to be a little more organized. So, I've been trying to start running with my friends.When I was playing soccer, workouts were fun because we thrived off of each other; we were a collective team, so I need to get back that team support system.

FITNESS: What’s your proudest fitness-related achievement? Why?    
JF:  It has to be winning the 2004 Olympics.The team was getting older, we had gone into a second overtime and I had a sprained ankle. It didn’t look good, but we all wanted it so much,so we were going to do what ever we could to win! And I actually ran the Santa Barbara half marathon without training and after being pregnant. I ran the whole thing, but I thought I was going to die at the end of it!

—By Jaclyn Smock, beauty intern