Our Story

It All Started on the Pitch.

Our story is simple. The fútbol pitch brought us together. It united 3 coaches and a great group of girls, who inspired us to pursue life's possibilities.

We come from very different backgrounds, but what brought us together was a ball, a pitch, and a passion for the game. What started out as a love for coaching turned out to be much, much more. In the Fall of 2016 we came together to coach the Como Park High School Girls’ Soccer Team.

Our goal was to give an inner city girls soccer program the same type of opportunities that girls from other high schools and clubs get. Our goal was to help elevate the playing experience for all of the girls in the program by providing a fun and unique way to play the game.

As coaches, we imagined we could positively impact our players. Little did we know that they would transform us far more than we could have imagined.

Our Mission

Like a Girl inspires girls predominantly from immigrant and refugee families in under served communities achieve their goals through academics and fútbol.

mission

Our mission is to take "Like a Girl" and make it a powerful phrase, a descriptive statement that would be a compliment for anyone. “Like a Girl” is a lifestyle. It’s living confidently with your head held high and a belief that you can do anything.

We provide access/stepping stones to solving academic and athletic barriers to girls that do not typically have the same, carved path their higher-income counterparts do due to low-income and/or immigrant family status.

We connect girls with free and accessible futbol programming, academic support, experiences, and scholarship information, along with community resources in order to provide new opportunities for our wonderful young women and to expand their ideas of their future.

The Founders

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Kyle Johnson

Co-Founder + Creative Director

My inspiration for starting this organization sparked when I began coaching the girls’ soccer team at Como Park High School. I have met some truly outstanding kids through the program and wanted to create as many opportunities for them as I possibly could.

It started on the soccer field, where the great majority of my players can’t afford to play in the club systems that most girls of the same age do. I wanted to give our kids the same quality coaching and training that they would get if they went to a club.

That blossomed into creating opportunities off the pitch. Beyond soccer, my desire is to help our girls get to college, and help our soccer families navigate the challenging steps of "life after high school.”

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Jennifer Larrick

Co-Founder + Youth Director

I grew up on soccer fields. I've played and loved the game for as long as I can remember. In college, I played at the University of Florida and the University of Minnesota. After my collegiate playing days came to a close, I stayed in school to finish my Masters in Youth Development. While finishing school, I connected with Kyle and coached at Como Park High School. During one of my first days at Como, a few of the girls asked me when I started playing soccer. "When I was about four,” I told them. Then they told me when they were four, they were living in Thailand in a refugee camp. That moment was the beginning of my education about our girls and their stories.

Throughout the season, I learned from them, and they learned from me. We grew together. Mostly I learned that our girls are smart, funny, resilient, and capable. I also realized that they face obstacles in their everyday lives which make participating in sports and school a challenge. My motivation for Like a Girl is to support our girls through those challenges so they can pursue their dreams, whether that's scoring their first goal, going to college, starting a business, or beyond.

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Risa Luther

Co-Founder + College Director

I grew up in Portland, Oregon playing sports and going to school, the balancing act every scholar-athlete tries to develop. My love for both sports and education pushed me head first to Macalester College for my undergraduate degree and their soccer and track teams. My motivation for Like a Girl started during my first term of service with AmeriCorps College Possible at Como Park High School. During this year of service, I met so many enthusiastic students that were ready for success, yet unsure of where to go and how to get there.

Serving as both a coach in the classroom for my students and a coach on the field with the soccer team, I reaffirmed my belief that laughter and hard work belong together. My year of service focused on bridging the education opportunity gap that many young people in this country battle today. I worked with my students to help navigate the college application process and provide them the test preparation they deserve, but many cannot afford. Like a Girl is the combination we need. It is the chance for these girls to reach their potential both academically and athletically, providing them with support to grow as scholars and as athletes.