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Parker Goins: Racing Louisville FC - Forward #21

By Brian Gainer

Photos by Racing Louisville & Antonio Pantoja

A brief, but spectacular, interview with one of Racing Louisville FC’s (Racing) and the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) rising stars, Parker Goins. She spoke with me from her home near Tulsa, OK following Racing Louisville’s hard-fought draw on May 18 earned against NWSL league leaders, the Kansas City Current.

Brian Gainer (BG): Parker, it is a pleasure to speak with you. Let us start from the beginning. You are from the Tulsa, OK area, correct? How did your soccer story begin?

Parker Goins (PG): You’re right, I was born and raised near Tulsa, in Broken Arrow, OK. I’ve been playing soccer since I was a young girl. I played club & high school soccer there, alongside my best friend and fellow professional soccer player, Taylor Malham (Chicago Red Stars). We also played at the University of Arkansas together, before joining Racing as rookies in 2022. It’s cool to think that me and Taylor are two homegrown professional soccer players inspiring younger girls and boys. A former coach sent me a picture of a young boy playing me as his player in a soccer video game. That was so awesome!

BG: Wow! It’s astonishing that you and your best friend both made it all the way to the professional level together! You have had quite a journey all the way from youth soccer to playing as a forward for Racing in the NWSL. What kind of advice do you give today’s aspiring soccer stars to help them advance their skills to hopefully reach the higher levels of the game? 

PG: Put in a lot of extra work – extra training session, private training sessions, go out to the backyard for extra touches on the ball, etc. Those are the types of things that helped me improve and stand out from the crowd and led me to be able to play at this level. 

BG: So hard work and perseverance does pay off! Can you tell us how your skills & style of play have adapted to help you thrive at the professional level? 

PG: Absolutely. The level of competition, speed of play and the physicality are all intense. For me, I’d say my ability to read the game and my technical skills like ball control, connecting passing, etc... have improved the most. The physical nature of the game is always going to be there, but the facilities and staff at Racing are top notch and give us everything we need to prepare for and recover from the toughest matches.

BG: That’s fantastic! You’ve been in the league for a few years now. Can you tell us what, if any, progress you’ve seen first-hand when it comes to some of the bigger issues surrounding women’s soccer and sports in general?

PG: Sure. We’ve seen advancement on pay equity, which is great. There’s also been progress when it comes to visibility/media coverage. Something I think is really remarkable though, is the quality of the facilities and the investments being made into the women’s game these days. Racing’s facilities, resources and staff are excellent and easily some of the best in the league, if not the world. We’re so lucky to have such wonderful support here. But I have to say, we just played in the new CPKC Stadium in Kansas City, the first women’s professional sports stadium in the world! It was so impressive and such a cool atmosphere! Then there’s the fact that I’m playing for Bev Yanez, my first female head coach. She’s very inspiring and she’s also been in the league, and I have learned a lot from her just within these past few months. Obviously, there’s more to be done on all the big issues, but things are headed in the right direction! 

BG: Now for the hard-hitting journalistic topics on everyone’s minds.... where do you like to go around town for coffee, food & fun? Come on, tell us where the top tier women professional athletes like to hang in Louisville when not on the pitch! 

PG: Haha! Well, I am a coffee person, so you may find a bunch of us girls at Quills, or a cute newlittle place I found in Germantown called PhalchaCoffee. As far as restaurants, I really like La Bodeguita De Mima in NuLu and The Eagle on Bardstown Road is a favorite as well. For fun, if we’re outside I like to walk across the bridge, that’s always nice. Me and a few of the girls got memberships at YogaSix, so in the evenings we go out there and do that. It’s become a little hobby of ours. 

I’m just really enjoying Louisville, and my teammates, and I’m extremely excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for us on the pitch!

BG: We’re excited too, Parker. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. We wish you all the best.

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