Skip to content

Q+A with Shawna Palmer — Athlete, Reimaginer, and Founder of Football For Her

Spotlight on our Summer Impact Partner, Football For Her

Change through sport is our shared mission with our Summer Impact Partner Football For Her, a non-profit organization located in Los Angeles, CA. Football For Her holds a much-needed space for girls and non-binary athletes through weekly free training, mentorship, and resources. Their accessible programming motivates, educates, and develops confidence on and off the pitch, helping youth participants reach their goals — regardless of their economic standing. Football is for everyone, which is why a portion of proceeds from our World Cup-Inspired collection Written in the Stars benefits FFH all summer.
This incredible organization was founded by Shawna Palmer, a Southern California native and a former NWSL, W-League, and Damallsvenskan professional soccer player. Shawna now serves as Executive Director of Football For Her, where she and her team work to create a safe, inclusive environment for girls and non-binary youth to play.
Read on for an interview with Shawna on her journey and her impact.

Q: How did Football For Her begin? Tell us about your founding story. 
A: I was the first to play a sport at a high level in my family—we weren’t huge on sports growing up. I also happened to be the first in the family to get a college education. Being the first to take any athletics beyond the recreational level came with a lot of unknowns. I didn’t have any WOC athletes to look up to; they simply weren’t broadcasted or easily accessible.

Over the past 20 years, playing soccer from youth league to professional level, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world. Location, culture, and people always change, but two things unfortunately stayed the same: diversity within the sport, and a lack of recognition for the women’s game.

My answer to all of that? I made it my mission to create a space that not only gave visibility to young women and non-binary athletes of color, but also created an opportunity for them to change their lives, career trajectories, and paths of success through Football For Her.


Q: Our World Cup-Inspired Collection, Written in the Stars, celebrates how we're all a part of the constellation of change. Just like the stars are visible beacons of inspiration, so too are our mentors and role models. Who is your mentor or role model? How did they blaze the trail for you?

A: My inspiration comes from my family… I take great pride in my roots and my culture. My mom and sisters have always been my role models — I’ve idolized my strong, independent, compassionate, hard-working mother since birth. Being raised by someone who sets such an incredible example has undoubtedly led me to my success as a professional athlete and now business owner.

My father is also amazing; he made sure I was set up for success in whatever way he could, with very minimal resources. He sacrificed everything—gave up his personal life, stretched his pockets beyond their own reach, and showed me how important it is to be present in your kids’ lives and supportive of who they want to be.

Having such a strong support system fuels my need to be that for the kids in Football For Her. I want them to know what it’s like to have role models that look like them, and I want them to feel that they can do anything they set their minds to. I especially want them to know I’m in their corner, cheering for them every step of the way, just like my family has done for me my entire life.

Q: Working with young people means you get to see the impact of Football For Her as that support system every day. What are some of those experiences that stand out?
A: We’ve encountered multiple conversations that end in tears from guardians thanking us for providing this opportunity for their daughters because they, as women, never had the opportunity to play sports growing up.

We’ve received countless messages and emails thanking us for being their “safe place” or “positive space.”

We had a guardian disclose that one of our participants was in a very toxic, negative atmosphere with her coach who told her she was overweight and made comments about her 11-year-old body—which translated to our participant cutting back on food at home. She relayed that she only saw joy from her daughter when participating in our Friday night program, and thanked us for providing something positive for her daughters and her community.

A guardian has mentioned that he’s thankful for our program because his daughters are usually the only athletes of color on their teams and it’s nice to have a space where they can play alongside other athletes that look like them. Their daughters have also expressed how they did not know that soccer could bring them all the opportunities that they have seen through Football For Her.

"We need more spaces where girls and non-binary people feel safe to express themselves—and be themselves—through sport.

The status quo leans white, male, wealthy. Football For Her fights for the equality of people who cannot check those boxes."

Q: How does your work at Football For Her reimagine the world and challenge the status quo?
A: Football For Her is the only organization doing what we’re doing here in the United States. When a corporate sponsor confirmed that after our own personal research, I couldn’t believe it. It’s usually cool to be the first and only in your space, but in this case, it’s really not.

We need more spaces where girls and non-binary people feel safe to express themselves—and be themselves—through sport. The status quo leans white, male, wealthy. Football For Her fights for the equality of people who cannot check those boxes. 
Q: How can we get involved with Football For Her? How can we support your work and your vision?
A: As a nonprofit, we very much depend on volunteer work to keep our programs running. We have various volunteer opportunities throughout the year — get on our volunteer list through our link tree in our instagram bio (@footballforher), or email us directly at

A portion of all sales from Written in the Stars, our World Cup-inspired Collection, will benefit Football For Her so more girls and non-binary youth can play football, develop confidence on and off the pitch, and change their lives through sport.

learn more at


Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping

Select options