Tracy Hamm, Head Coach of UC Davis Women’s Soccer Team
She makes up a 1% of women in the world who have a class A UAFA license.
She has a documentary film about her journey.
It speaks to the hurdle she had to jump in order to achieve this license. 43,403 people in the world have this license and 1% of them are women.
She grew up playing 5 varsity sports. Soccer was her favorite. She went to CAL on a full scholarship for soccer. After graduating she soon realized that there were not a lot of options for a female to further their careers. She first felt like her identity had been stripped from her upon graduation.
2009 the woman’s professional soccer league started and she got drafted to play. San Jose and Atlanta. In between that she was the assistant coach at CAL. What led you to find your passion so early? She grew up playing with the boys as she had two brothers. Her parents made her stay outside all summer. I felt like when I did well at sports, my parents were proud of me. It made me feel good. She was very competitive
with her older brother. She built thick skin. She was committed at an early age. She was a rebel in her early years. Sports kept her out of trouble and grounded.
Tracy receives a masters degree in counseling and sports psychology. She thought it would help her in her coaching. She wanted to be a student not a soccer player. She keeps get drawn back to soccer.
Tracy was hired at Santa Rosa Junior College to coach and teach. Working with that demographic was the best thing she could have ever done. Soccer isn’t the most important thing for everyone. It
allowed her to take a step back. She needed to recognize people as individuals and as a whole. If I knew them as a person than it made me a better coach. Everyone needs to be coached differently in order
for them to be successful. Coach to the individual not the group. The little things matter is the way she runs her life. Coaching is so much more than the game. “HOW YOU DO ANYTHING IS HOW YOU
DO EVERYTHING”. This is her motto. The things that the game can teach you translate to everything in your life and vice versa.
Do you put the grocery cart away? The smallest details make a large impact. If you put the cart away, it just made someone else’s life easier. Be responsible for what you can control.
From club to college to coaching. She was coaching at SF State. Being a good coach or boss can be as simple as asking how someone is! It is building respect. It takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. Shared responsibility and collective goals are very important. I place a lot of responsibility on self respect. If you don’t love and respect yourself, it is hard to care about anything. If it is too easy then it is not valuable. It is a meritocracy. The invest in themselves.
They want to build merit and efficacy. The prepare and train for and then they see success. Response to failure is the generational piece and they are not comfortable responding to failure. You have to fail
to have success. They will build confidence. What does a failure response look like? Verbal lashing vs. to continue to go back at it.
Why are we so afraid to fail? Because it is painful. In the world of sports, you let down other people, not just yourself. Failing and change is scary. We rarely focus on deficiencies. We only grow when we focus on deficiency.
She has an amazing credential, a class A license. She put herself in a vulnerable and courageous space that very few woman have ever done. You are walking the walk. You show other woman what is possible.
I like to be the first person to do things. When someone tells me I cannot do something, it is an enormous motivator for her!
US Soccer is the governing body for all US soccer. UAFA is the governing body for all European soccer. You can get licenses waived if you have certain criteria for experience and teaching and coaching. US soccer requires that all coaches be trained.
E,D and F license are done in your state. The C is nationally based. She wanted to skip and got right to the C. And US soccer denied her because she had only played professionally for two years and she
argued this that she couldn’t because of the gap when there wasn’t a woman’s team.
They were alienating an entire demographic. This rule was written without woman in mind. They didn’t have the foresight. She appealed. They said no. She swallowed pride. She started looking abroad. UAFA had a license path. US Soccer would accept national waivers. She looked into Wales who happened to have a residential program. She applied as a professional soccer player. She is a problem solver. She found a way in! You must use creativity when you hit roadblocks. Life is about plan B sometimes.
They wanted her to take the D to get into the C. It was unfair. I did a lot of research to find a different way to get it done. It was about self accountability. I didn’t want to rely on someone else. What was the
motivation to go all the way? It would be hard for her to learn and continue to grow. She wanted to get better. She likes to be the best at everything she does. She wants to be the best she can be. She is thirsty for education and she expects the best for her players.
Tracy applied and she was accepted! This was in 2017. She paid for this out of her own pocket. She got there in a roundabout way. She showed up and had a moment of self doubt. She walked into the room….. HER DAD SAID HALF THE BATTLE IS JUST SHOWING UP. She was looking at the name tags in the room because there were super famous soccer players ALL MALE. No one sat with her which was so awkward. Finally, another female shows up. She sits next to Tracy. They knew they would be best friends!
It was her turn to introduce herself and all the air went out of the room, not only was she female but she was AMERICAN! It was a great week and great camaraderie. She has more experience than most of them. They were all the same level. They were asking her for help. UAFA B.
She went back again to get the UAFA A license. She was invited to come back. This was a different experience. She was prepared. There were one or two that made her feel less than. People were there from
all over the world. She didn’t have the validity because it was an international . You are here because you earned it. SELF RESPECT.
It is a muscle that you build over time. How do you build confidence? How do you build the force? Asking for help is the most important thing. We feel isolated. We are supposed to be really strong. It puts
you in a vulnerable position. It can be the spark that you need for one person to believe in you! We are social beings. We need the inner connection. We all try to be so independent. Being authentic is also a
chance for others to see you are a person instead of what your role is.
We are all people!
We are going back to being a rebel. I am going to push the limit of yourself. Do you need to be a rebel to have the qualities of a champion? When you are not ok with inequality or things that are not fair,
you use that as motivation to push boundaries. We sometimes do need to hear the word NO but due diligence and question why things are the way they are. Manufacture a plan! It came less about her and
opening doors for other women! It gives woman belief and hope.
I felt very proud of myself and I don’t think that people celebrate their successes enough. How do you get the license? You have 480 hours worth of work and self reflection. A lot of theoretical work as well. You have to film five sessions to finish. They let you know if you are ready to be assessed. It was so nerve wracking.
It was so serendipitous. She left SF State and the next day she met her UC Davis team and then she got the email that she passed! Her next step is to get her PhD is Cultural Studies. There is an emphasis in feminist theory. She wants to focus on Woman’s Empowerment. She is excited to further her education.
How do you teach others to be authentic? Tracy thought she had to be like the other coaches but she wanted to be herself and wanted to coach her way. You need to identify who you really are and be confident in what you are doing. Who do you want to be? For her, she wanted to leave a room and have it feel like people are better because she was there. IMPACT is what she wants. She works to be her very best.
I want to make someone’s life better by being a part of it.