By RED editor Amy Goldwasser, interviewing U.S. soccer star, gold medalist and TV journalist Julie Foudy
The World Cup starts next week—June 11 to July 11 in Cape Town, South Africa—and, well, even if you're an American girl who's into soccer, this is an international sports event that's never offered much of a place for girls (or women, or Americans for that matter). Until this year, when the ingenious new organization Global Girl Media's Kick it Up! project dispatches 20 local girls, age 14 to 22, most from the Soweto township, as digital video journalists covering the 2010 FIFA World Cup. And their mentor is noneother than senior ESPN sportscaster Julie Foudy, former captain of the U.S. Women's Soccer team and two-time gold medalist. We caught up with the inspirational athlete and activist to find out more about the world's coolest citizen reporters, from the frontlines of the World Cup.
RED Hearts: You identify yourself as "a global girl." What does that kind of global citizenship mean to you—and to the young journalists you're working with?
JF: When you're holding a camera and providing insight into your community, you're also providing leadership to all those other girls who want to do the same thing. I hope that seeing stories by GlobalGirl reporters on the web and on TV will encourage young women around the globe to have opinions, speak out, and be a part of a global society.
RED Hearts: Why girls?
JF: Quite simply, there are too few women out there, both in front of and behind the cameras and working in media. It's not great in the U.S., and it's worse internationally. By exposing girls to journalism and giving them practical experience in the field with video and sound equipment, we're hoping that more young women will decide to pursue careers in journalism. All of our GlobalGirl reporters in South Africa keep journals and are interested in writing. We're planning to do stories together. I can't wait!
RED Hearts: How can any girl with a story to tell—soccer or not—get her start?
JF: My advice to all girls out there is to look around in their own communities and report on stories and events that matter to them. Be confident and know that your voice is important and has great value—not just in your own neighborhood but worldwide.