August 25, 2016 by Alyse LaHue
This is not a day whose arrival I could plan, but I am announcing my resignation from the Chicago Red Stars, effective at the end of this season.
I have a lifetime of fond memories of coworkers, fans, and so many friends I’ve made along the way. I think we all could write an incredibly long anthology of short stories, essays and lessons learned from this journey! Most of my days were filled with extreme gratitude that somehow my path led me to the greatest job on earth. Every day felt purposeful, like we were(are) doing something really important on a much deeper level than just the excitement of a gameday. This will be one of my fondest relationships, with its immense joy and the really dark days on the other side that are inevitable. More poetically “never easy, always interesting!”
On one hand I feel like I’ve been here forever, and on the other hand every pro season has gone by in a flash, leaving me excited for all the prospects of another season ahead after so many new lessons learned. I still feel that way now, although my involvement will be markedly different. Obviously it’s never easy to depart a role you’ve laid your life into, especially when it still feels as exciting as the first day I got that phone call from (then GM) Marcia McDermott responding to my blind resume inquiry. I remember sprinting out into a January snow-day with bare feet to take the call, as I was squatting in my sister’s apartment then with little reception, chasing down a dream.
And to think way back, I joined this club as an intern in early 2008! That was 9 years ago I began my foray into women’s professional soccer under the guiding light of Marcia and Peter Wilt. A journey that I spent loyal to the Red Stars, with a brief stint in LA when the Red Stars dipped out of WPS. We have come a long way and this sport has come a long way just in the last 10 years. Even when things seem to move slow in our world from a fan-perspective, there is always so much brewing in the background and progress made each and every year.
I owe many thanks to the folks along the way that nurtured me, often in spite of my stubbornness and passionate convictions.
Whatever I may have lacked in experience that I had to learn along the way, I hope I made up for in sheer determination. You truly have to love this to make it work. It’s not another ordinary job. All the people working in and contributing to NWSL know this, believe this, and live this.
It has been such a privilege to be a part of the growth of women’s soccer in this country, even though I know we are only at the beginning of the road. There is so, so much ahead for this and I look forward to my next phase of contributions.
To those wondering, no the Red Stars are not going anywhere! My departure is not indicative of the status of the club. It’s is in the best position it has ever been, thanks to an incredibly determined and hardworking staff, along with the fans that have been here since day 1 and the new fans we welcome in daily. I’m proud of where we’ve gotten and the accomplishments checked off along the way.
I hope there’s women reading this that will step up and apply to vacancies, reach out to teams, and get involved. Our perspective and the value that has on the future of this league (or any league) can’t be swept under. I wrote about this desire many years ago in a grandiose life-retrospect, with a not-so-hidden message.
To all the friends and supporters I’ve had the pleasure of meeting along the way, this is not goodbye, it’s see you soon.
Thank you for being a part of this journey, which is only beginning.