September 9, 2015
espnW Launches Voices of the Future powered by New Balance
Five-Part Video Series to Feature the Next Generation of Rising Female Athletes including Julie Johnston, Breanna Stewart, Heather Watson and Shamier Little
espnW will kick off Voices of the Future powered by New Balance, a five-part video series that will highlight the journey of five young accomplished female athletes on espnW.com from September 9 – October 6. Originally making its debut as a panel at the inaugural espnW: Women + Sports Summit in 2010, Voices of the Future has continued to grow as a year-round platform for the next generation of rising stars in sports.
The series will be hosted by espnW’s Julie Foudy, who will take a dive deep into the lives of U.S. women’s soccer star and FIFA World Cup winner Julie Johnston, three-time NCAA National Basketball champion Breanna Stewart, WTA British No. 1-ranked tennis talent Heather Watson and two-time 2015 Pan American Games track and field gold medalist Shamier Little. The fifth athlete will be named at a later date.
In her playful style, Foudy will talk to each athlete about what drives her to succeed and how they continue to push themselves to new heights, challenges they face as a young athlete and heroes who inspired them along the way.
“We are pleased with New Balance’s support of Voices of the Future. We are eager to tell the stories of these talented, seemingly fearless, young stars,” said Laura Gentile, vice president, espnW. ”The strength they possess and the significant impact they have already made is inspiring. It’s important to project their journey authentically, in a way that is unique to espnW.”
Click on image to play video:
The espnW.com schedule for Voices of the Future powered by New Balance is as follows:
* Schedule subject to change
Julie Johnston, age 23 – 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, U.S. Women’s National Team
Debuts Wednesday, September 9
The 23-year-old U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) defender made just 12 international appearances prior to the 2015 Women’s World Cup, but had an impressive rise in Canada, playing every minute of all seven games and helping her team earn their third star and win their first World Cup since 1999. The Mesa, Arizona native and former Santa Clara University standout plays for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League. She was the captain of the U-20 USWNT that also won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the U-23 team that won the 2013 Four Nations tournament in La Manga, Spain.
Heather Watson, age 23 – WTA British No. 1 Ranked Tennis Star, Two-time WTA Tour Singles Title Winner
Debuts September 16
Playing tennis since the age of seven, Heather Watson is the No. 1-ranked British female player in the world in Singles, as well as Doubles. In 2011, she quickly climbed up the professional rankings and was the youngest player ranked inside the top 100 in the world. In 2012, Watson claimed the No.1 British women’s spot in Singles and Doubles, won her first WTA Tour Title at Stanford and reached the third round of Wimbledon – becoming the first British woman to win a match on Centre Court since 1985. Watson’s momentum came to a crashing halt after being diagnosed with Glandular Fever in 2013 where she was forced off the tennis tour for more than four months. In 2014, Watson fought and climbed back into the Top 50, picking up two more titles on the ITF Women’s Circuit and reaching her first WTA Semifinal since 2012. Fully recovered and healthy, in 2015 she signed a new sponsorship deal with New Balance and claimed her second WTA Tour Singles Title, proving that the future of British women’s tennis continues to shine.
Breanna Stewart, age 21 – University of Connecticut Huskies Forward, three-time NCAA National Champion
Debuts September 23
The only player in history to be honored as the Final Four Most Outstanding Player three times, Breanna Stewart has been instrumental in her team’s three-straight NCAA tournament titles and has been recognized with countless awards for her contributions, including the 2014 espnW Player of the Year, two-time Associated Press Player of the Year, the John R. Wooden Award winner, two-time American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and many more. The 6-feet-4 inch forward started all 39 games for the Huskies during in the 2014-15 season, and her 303 rebounds marked the fourth-highest total in school history as a junior.
Shamier Little, age 20 – Pan American Games 400 Hurdles Gold Medalist, Texas A&M University Track & Field Star
Debuts September 30
As a 20-year-old college sophomore at Texas A&M University, Little became the 2015 USA Track and Field champion in the 400-meter hurdles. Born in Louisville, Ky., she is the child of athletic parents – her father was a football cornerback and her mother a star basketball player and high jumper at Eastern Kentucky University. As a freshman at Texas A&M University, Little won the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter hurdles and helped lead her team to a second-place finish in the 4×400-meter relay. Later that summer, she won the 2014 World Junior Championships in the 400 hurdles. In 2015, she repeated as NCAA Champion, running the then-No. 1 time in the world. The NCAA Championship led to an invitation to the 2015 Pan American Games, where she took home the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles.
Past Voices of the Future participants have included Mo’ne Davis, Chloe Kim, Lakey Peterson, Sydney Leroux, Taylor Townsend, Aly Raisman, Sloane Stephens, Skylar Diggins and Kendall Coyne.
espnW serves women who love sports. espnW.com provides an engaging environment that offers total access to female athletes and the sports they play, takes fans inside the biggest events, and shares a unique point of view on the sports stories that matter most to women. Founded in July 2010, espnW lives across digital, television, films, events, educational platforms and social media. The annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit is the leading event of its kind in the sports industry.
About New Balance
New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is the only major company to make or assemble more than 4 million pairs of athletic footwear per year in the USA, which represents a limited portion of our US sales. Where the domestic value is at least 70%, we label our shoes Made in the USA. New Balance owns five factories in New England and one in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 4,000 associates around the globe, and in 2013 reported worldwide sales of $2.73 billion. To learn more about New Balance, please visit www.newbalance.com.
Crystal Yang Edwards ESPN Communications firstname.lastname@example.org 213-405-4401