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Angel City FC announce program to help players train for post-playing careers

Club retires No. 22 as part of program.

Courtesy of Angel City FC

Angel City FC announced on Wednesday a program, the Player 22 Future Program, that will aim to help players transition to post-playing careers, with the aim to, “create pathways for former NWSL players interested in pursuing a career in the sports industry. Whether it be coaching, refereeing, media, and front office roles, the ultimate goal is to help prepare players for entry into the workforce following their professional soccer career,” according to the club’s release.

The 2022 NWSL expansion side also announced they will retire the No. 22 before kicking a ball, and will release an annual 22-themed club merchandise line to help fund the project. In addition, club jerseys with the full sponsors that have the No. 22 on the back that are sold will have 10 percent of revenue devoted to financially supporting the Player 22 Future Program.

Angel City FC will work with the California Community Foundation to help carry out the program on administrative ground and to distribute funds.

“Through this program, Angel City is investing in the retirement of these players and therefore the athlete as a whole,” said Angela Hucles Mangano, ACFC Vice President of Player Development and Operations in the club’s release. “Professional soccer is so intensely focused on preparation and performance on the field that the off-field player development aspect can be an afterthought. Upon retirement, a professional athlete competes with a recent college grad for jobs, and we want to do what we can to create opportunities to equip players with the professional development skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Further, as a female-led and driven organization, this program will help continue to drive the momentum of more females entering the sports business.”

Given the need for more women to be working in some aspects of professional sports — including the NWSL, as we’ve learned all too painfully over the past week and year — and the ongoing issue of all professional athletes to have a pathway to transition to a post-playing career, this looks like a really promising project. I think if Angel City can find success in this way, they will not only help the club nurture future employees, but help the sport overall and help the players get much-needed support services. So this looks pretty exciting if it all comes together successfully.

If you want to contribute to the project, you can purchase the something from the first batch of Player 22 merchandise, which dropped on Wednesday.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.