SoccerGrlProbs interview (Part Two): ‘Something like a phenomenon’ – Ice baths, autographs and aspirations
For its many ups and downs, the life of a soccer player is wonderfully unique, and SoccerGrlProbs trio Alanna Locast, Carly Beyar and Shannon Fay might just have stumbled upon yet another way to branch out from it in style.
As discussed in the first half of this interview, the three ex-Fairfield University teammates created something that thousands would come to identify with when they began tweeting in 2011 as ‘SoccerGirlProblems’ (@SoccerGrlProbs). In the past three years, SGP has unified women’s soccer players of various ages as they enjoy the humorous tweets and videos portraying the very lifestyle they go through.
SGP’s Twitter following currently stands at over 189,000, while their YouTube videos have accumulated over seven million views. Alanna, Carly and Shannon have gained star status in the adoring eyes of their fans and they are never short of attention when attending games as supporters.
One of their former Fairfield teammates is Sky Blue FC midfielder Nikki Stanton and she is just one of many players in the National Women’s Soccer League (and beyond) who love what SGP represents. U.S. Women’s National Team and Seattle Reign forward Sydney Leroux, who shared her music background and more on here last year, is another example.
Alanna, Carly and Shannon have already introduced an SGP apparel line and they have plenty more ideas of how to grow the brand. They explored the musical side of their individual lives, careers and personalities in part one of this feature and we could well be seeing this expressed in a video in the near future.
I asked each of them which soccer player (male or female) they would get on board to record a collaboration of a song with SGP, and Carly knew straight away who fit the bill, from a fun perspective at least!
“I immediately think that if we ever did a cover version of a song with Sydney Leroux, it would be hilarious. She seems so entertaining and funny, especially with that video of her dancing in the locker room with an animated face.”
Alanna also went for someone who has talked all things music on here in the past. The USWNT midfielder is one of the most renowned characters in the women’s game and aside from her ability on the field she is more than impressive when it comes to acoustic song performances.
“That is a great question! Carly, Shannon and myself are definitely thinking of recording a funny cover version of a song eventually.
“What song would we do? I have absolutely no idea, but I would love if Megan Rapinoe joined us.
“I think she would be a hysterical addition to a video!”
With Carly and Alanna both choosing notable figures from women’s soccer, Shannon went down a different route. Her choice was a certain Spanish striker from the men’s game and SGP fans might already be aware of her reason why!
“Probably with (Fernando) Torres because everyone says we look alike, so it would be funny to sing next to each other.”
Since their days as Stags teammates in Division 1 collegiate soccer, Alanna, Carly and Shannon have all graduated from Fairfield University, with the latter two doing so this May. While Carly and Shannon were completing college, Alanna would handle most of SGP’s business matters and her house would be filled with stock from their apparel range.
The girls have since moved in together and it is an exciting time for them all as they dedicate a significant amount of their daily efforts to breaking new ground with SGP. Orders of their official t-shirts, phone covers and much more have come from around the U.S. and overseas.
Alanna, who has a bachelor’s degree in biology, is currently approaching the end of her master’s degree in exercise physiology at Adelphi University. Fitness is an incredibly important aspect in her life and she explains how it fits into her schedule alongside SGP.
“I’m finishing up my degree with an internship back at Fairfield University in the strength and conditioning department as a volunteer coach. Coaching in the weight room takes up my mornings from 6 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. and then I meet with Carly and Shannon in the office where we do all the business work together for the rest of the day.
“It’s been such an incredible opportunity to all live together in the same house and get to work together in the same office. We can be incredibly productive when we are all working together so it’s a great environment to be in.
“As for soccer, I am currently taking a break from playing on a team, due to not having the time to do so. However, training and working out is still a huge part of my life so I’m sure I will be reconnecting with playing again in the near future.”
Carly graduated in May with a communications degree and a minor in studio art. While playing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) with Long Island Fury, she was described by her coach and current Portland Thorns boss Paul Riley as someone who is ‘born to lead and bred to play at the top level’.
She describes how she has stayed in the groove with soccer and how she and Shannon, both 22, are showcasing their skills in Connecticut at present.
“As soon as our season in the fall ended I immediately got back into playing. I played indoor every week with some of the Fairfield University men’s soccer players and then I joined the spring intramural co-ed league that the university had been running.
“That was also indoors and tons of fun to participate in with my friends. After I graduated, I joined the RVC Royals summer league which had retired as well as current college players preparing for their upcoming pre-season.
“Currently, Shannon and I have joined the Westport women’s league that is local for us here in CT. We had our first game recently and we found out that we are the youngest girls on the team.
“It is amazing to see these older women still playing, staying in shape and kicking ass. We won too, which I am pretty pumped about.”
Shannon secured a communications degree with minors in psychology and new media/TV in May. She is a lover of Mexican food and a master when it comes to quoting movies. She spoke of the fun she is having playing in the Westport women’s league at the moment, and the possibility of replicating the attacking form she showed with the Fairfield Stags abroad in the future is not something she has yet ruled out.
“Maybe someday I will try to play overseas but I’m not thinking about that at the moment. Right now we are hard at work every day trying to build up SoccerGrlProbs.
“We live together, we work together and we work out together, so we are always coming up with creative content and new ideas. Outside of SGP, I love being outside: running, rollerblading, biking.
“I love watching Netflix – I am semi-addicted – and thrift shopping.”
The element that has always shone through most strongly with SGP is fun. In its own enjoyable and distinctive way it has helped thousands of female soccer players to take pride in all those little moments that make their lifestyle what it is, no matter how much struggle parts of it may bring!
Adding SGP workout and fitness videos to their repertoire is something Alanna, Carly and Shannon have mentioned, and as well as all the light-hearted stuff, they are committed to being positive role models to the many who look up to them. It is easy to appreciate just how strong and focused they are for their relatively young ages and 2010 MAAC All-Academic Team member Alanna feels she has gained a great deal from the sport that has shaped such a lot of her young life.
“My life in soccer and having the opportunity to be a part of a Division 1 team has taught me quite a few priceless lessons that I will take with me throughout this life. One lesson I have internalised is to never put limitations on myself, because in the end, you get out of things what you choose to put into them.
“Nothing in this life is ever handed to you, and if you train yourself to have the self-discipline and instinct to commit all of yourself to the things you are passionate about, then that is the way you are going to be the most successful in achieving them.”
Shannon’s brother Brian played soccer at Centre College in Kentucky and the importance of those closest to her is evident when she looks at what her time in soccer up to now has taught her.
“Follow your dreams, think big, do something for a career that you love and enjoy doing, and be grateful for everything that you have worked to do with the support of fans, friends and family.”
Carly, who had her older sister Alaina as a teammate with the Long Island Fury, made the MAAC All-Academic Team as a junior and senior with the Stags. Like far too many women’s soccer players she has been through the agony of an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury but after surgery in 2008 she made it back.
She has much to express when evaluating the life lessons of her relationship with the game.
“Playing soccer has taught me so much about myself and life in general. It has taught me how to be social, how to be open to advice and to use constructive criticism to your advantage.
“It is funny to think about how a sport has taught me to push myself to become a better student, teammate, friend and athlete simultaneously. As a Division 1 soccer player, I learned how crucial time management, commitment, and positive mentality was when it came to lifting, practicing, fitness tests, or even my school work.
“It taught me to set goals and do everything I could to achieve them. What I value most about soccer is learning to work with other people besides yourself.
“Specifically, having a common goal and working together to make it a reality. In soccer words, feeling successful and ecstatic after a team win even though you personally didn’t score the winning goal.
“This is also why SoccerGrlProbs is so crucial to me. As friends and teammates, taking what we have learned through experience and having the ability to each bring something to the table that contributes to our company is a blessing.”
The appeal of SGP’s comedy goes further than just resonating with fellow players. Coaches and parents can relate too, even if they happen to be the focus of the joke on a few occasions!
There is a ‘Soccer Mom’ t-shirt included in the online store and the huge role they have in the women’s soccer community is never forgotten by SGP. Girls everywhere are able to feel good about what they are part of through playing the game when they read a Soccer Girl Problem, so is there a problem that Alanna, Carly and Shannon identify with that little bit more than the others?
Former Seaford High School student Alanna picks hers out first.
“It would definitely be the fact that I have spent far too many nights cuddling in bed with ice packs…like five of them at a time.”
As SGP was born from the tweets sent out as the girls were lay exhausted from soccer and covered in ice packs, Alanna’s choice is certainly a significant one. There is much built by SGP around the fashion decisions and difficulties faced by soccer girls and Carly touches upon that with the problem she goes for.
“I believe that having muscular legs is the biggest SGP that I have! Finding a pair of shorts or jeans that fit me perfectly is nearly impossible.
“In fact, I don’t think I have ever found a pair that I love. As my Albertson Fury coach Phil (Casella) has said: “Move those tree trunks!”
When it came to Shannon’s answer, it followed on from Carly’s, but she pretty much said it all in the first word!
“Jeans. Having to find jeans that fit my muscular legs is always a challenge.”
Soccer is a lifelong love for these three and it has never been just a casual interest for any of them. When you feel that true bond with the game you invest more time, money and emotion in it than you are likely to put into most romantic relationships!
It brings you crashing down at times but it builds you back up again too. All those painful moments of pre-season training, those endless days fighting back from injury, and the sacrifices you make all suddenly become worth it when you get those rushes of happiness that you just couldn’t get anywhere else.
The game encapsulates so much about human emotion and if you have ever played it you will know the freedom and escape that it brings, if just for 90 minutes at a time. People remember how you make them feel and just like the sport itself, SoccerGrlProbs makes people happy, quite simply.
There is no better way to end this one than for each of SGP to describe what they love most about being a soccer girl.
“Playing the best sport in the world and watching as the United States shows more and more interest in it,” Shannon said. “Being part of the soccer community, I know I have made lifelong friends with teammates and coaches that I have been lucky enough to meet.”
“The best thing about being a soccer girl is the simple fact that ‘family’ does not necessarily mean blood-related,” Alanna began. “I have met my best friend and such an incredible group of teammates and coaches during my years of playing that have gotten me through some of the most difficult times of my life.
“I cherish those people and will always be so grateful for the experience. I have found what I am truly passionate about through playing and through my strength and conditioning coach, and have learned that this is a community that I hope to stay a part of forever.”
“The best thing about being a soccer girl?” Carly asked. “Everything.”
Follow me on Twitter: @chris_brookes
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