Photo Credit: Kari Achatz
Living a Dream
NWSL Golden Boot.
Life was going pretty well for Lynn Williams this October- and then she got even more good news. A call-up to the US Women’s National Team and the opportunity to suit up in a game against Switzerland. Her good fortune didn’t stop here. After just 49 seconds on the field, Lynn scored her first international goal.
Lynn’s success this year is the perfect headline story for our first issue of Sporting Chic. When we decided to start this project, we discussed the type of athlete that we would want to highlight. Basically, it’s someone like Lynn. Not only has she had an incredible year on the soccer field, she is also a badass entrepreneur and represents all of the values that we want this magazine to stand for: dedication, humility, poise, and confidence.
Growing up in Fresno, California with parents who both ran track in college, Lynn’s athleticism and speed did not go unnoticed. However, the majority of her college recruiting offers weren’t coming from soccer programs.
“I was only getting letters from schools for track. At the end of my junior year, only Fresno State and Pepperdine had recruited me to play soccer,” Lynn told Sporting Chic. “My mom and dad said, ‘Get out of Fresno and see the world. You can always come back home.’ That’s probably some of the best advice they gave me. And that’s how I ended up picking Pepperdine.”
At Pepperdine, Lynn met her Insta-stalk-worthy boyfriend, Marley Bivendolo, while he attended school there to play basketball. An Australian native, not only does he support her career wholeheartedly, but he is cute AF and has an Aussie accent (sigh.)
“I think because he is an athlete he understands the ‘athlete mindset.’ He knows that I would never ask him to give up basketball because basketball gives him a joy that I could never give him and vice versa,” Lynn explained, when asked about how they deal with the long distance in their relationship.
After college, Lynn was drafted in the first round by the WNY Flash, requiring her to leave California entirely. “Being away from your family is always hard, but my family is very understanding. They know it has always been a dream of mine to be a professional soccer player and one day, play on the National Team, so they are supportive and urge me to do anything I can for the betterment of my career.”
Not only was the distance from home an obstacle, but so were the serious injuries that she just couldn’t seem to avoid. Among the eight (EIGHT!!!) surgeries she has had include an elbow reconstruction and a repair on a torn labrum in her hip… and the two surgeries came only 6 weeks apart from each other. “I was depressed for a while and at one point contemplated not playing anymore. I didn’t know if soccer was worth all the surgeries and injuries. Eventually, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and worked my butt off to get back on the field. I thank God all the time that I didn’t quit.”
After a 2015 season that left the Flash in 7th place, Lynn found out that she needed surgery AGAIN. But this time, she decided that things were going to be different. She explained, “In the past when I have had surgery, I would kind of let myself go… I would eat whatever I wanted and only workout to do my rehab. When it was time to be cleared and get back on the field, it was hard! Getting back in shape is the worst.”
So this time, Lynn managed herself as professionally as possible during her recovery time after surgery. She ate healthy, did upper body workouts, and went a little bit crazy with the hand bike. She also took up yoga.
“I believe that all that really did help me get back on the field faster. When it came time to report for preseason, I was still a bit out of shape, but it was a lot easer to catch up and the only thing I had to do was focus on the soccer part.”
She did exactly that. The “soccer part” clearly fell into place this season for Lynn, as she scored 10 goals in the regular season and then 3 more in just 2 playoff games. Lynn won the Golden Boot, awarded to the highest scorer in the league. Then she won League MVP on top of that.
“I really give a lot of credit to my teammates and (head coach) Paul Riley. I think he is the first former-forward coach that I have even had. He spent a lot of time helping me with my runs, timing with the midfield, and repetition in front of goal.”
The focus, skill, and dedication required from Lynn on the field this year was enormous. It’s hard to believe that she found time for anything else, let alone starting a company on Etsy. Raenie is a shop where you can buy the most adorable knit crochet tops, ideal for summertime at the beach. Lynn told us, “My grandma taught me how to crochet when I was really little. This year I told myself I needed to get a hobby or something to do in all my free time. Then I ran into a friend and I loved her shirt. She told me that her mom knitted it. I thought to myself… ‘Omg, I’m going to take up knitting!’”
Lynn learned the difference between knitting and crocheting by watching Youtube videos and started to teach herself different patterns. Some teammates convinced her that these would sell for $30-$40 dollars online, so Lynn created an Etsy shop and did just that. “When I first started selling, a lot of people were ordering. I tried to make each one personal, but I am only one person and it got to be too much.” She’s taken a temporary hiatus from crocheting to save her thumbs from falling off, but we are praying that she will pick it back up for our own sakes! Summer 2k17 is right around the corner!
Turning into the hottest commodity in women’s soccer in just a matter of days made Lynn a difficult gal to track down for a lengthy interview. So, we threw some Rapid Fire questions her way.
SC: Best part of being a professional athlete?
LW: Teammates, traveling, friendships
SC: Hardest part?
LW: Missing home, constant moving around, and working while everyone else is vacationing
SC: Lunch with 3 celebs?
LW: Beyonce, Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Hart (can we come?)
SC: Go-to smoothie?
LW: Strawberry banana
SC: Go-to dinner?
LW: Chicken, rice pilaf, salad (or breakfast food!)
SC: Dream travel destination?
LW: Thailand, Australia
SC: Favorite junk food?
LW: Ice cream or chips...my weakness!
SC: Must have beauty product?
LW: Cantu leave in conditioner for curly hair
SC: Current TV show?
LW: Just finished Quantico! Everyone needs to watch