Since 2016, Kay Bradley ’04 has been the Brand Director for U.S. Soccer, where her goal is to capture the passion sweeping across America and make soccer the preeminent sport in the country. This summer, the U.S. Women’s National Team’s highly-publicized win in the World Cup—and the international attention paid to it—gave Bradley the extraordinary opportunity to play a role in converting casual enthusiasts to die-hard fans of U.S. Soccer. Success in the sport is something she has experienced firsthand: At Amherst, she was as a four-year member of the College’s women’s team and co-captain of the squad that won the 2004 NESCAC championship. Craig Kaufman, Amherst’s director of athletics communications, spoke with Bradley about her work as she was still riding high from the Women’s National Team’s victory and a ticker-tape parade honoring the squad on the streets of New York City’s legendary Canyon of Heroes.
CK: Where were you when the Women’s National Team won the World Cup?
KB: I was at the viewing party in Chicago [home of the headquarters of U.S. Soccer] when the final whistle blew. The passion and energy were contagious. Surrounded by our fans and my colleagues filled me with a feeling of excitement and a sense that we had accomplished something unprecedented both on and off the field. Within minutes, we had turned our attention to how best to capture the excitement and energy around the moment. It wasn’t until the ticker-tape parade that I really had the opportunity to reflect and take it all in.
CK: How did it feel being a part of that celebration?
KB: Riding on the float was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was moving to be part of such a rich tradition in American culture and inspiring to be surrounded by the hundreds of thousands of people who came out in support of women’s soccer. I felt equal parts pride and awe to see the individual faces of all the young girls lining the streets and knowing that their perception of what women can achieve will forever be altered for the better as a result of this team’s accomplishments. It’s extremely gratifying to think that in some small way, I played a part in that.