Everyday counts. You have to make it sure that everyday counts. You must be very determined and have a lot of perseverance.
In life, to achieve anything, you must have a certain mentality. No matter what it takes and no matter the sacrifices, you got to be able to get up every time you fall.
You got to do it for every dream you have. That is how I live my entire life.
Success is a combination of hard work, talent and preparation. A spiritual grounding, and the state of always be ready to overcome pain.
But, at the same time you need to try to be successful, but never forget your social life. Both are important for me and for all of us.
My inspiration comes from, first, wanting to achieve everything I put in mind. There are not only personal matter or goals, though. I believe in bringing poverty change.
I believe in overcoming all the obstacles you face and they can inspire the next generation of kids and especially young women out there, who go out and chase their dreams.
No matter how big these dreams are.
A few months ago, I signed the first multi-million contract to play women’s professional American football.
It’s not easy to try to be successful in a sport that once was called a “men’s territory”. There are men that support us and want to see us move forward. But there are men that don’t want to see women play…
That second category is the guys that think football is still “their sport”.
If you like to play and shine, you got to block out all the negativity and the people that don’t want to see you win. You got to stay away from all the misogynists of the world.
You must have a “tunnel vision” when it comes to chasing your dreams.
Playing in the pros, though, means you got to reach a whole new level, try to adjust and learn the “Xs and Os” and be able to play in different positions.
That requires a different mentality, and you guys can’t forget that we are getting hit all the time.
You need to be prepared. And the girls who want to try, they must understand what it comes with it and perform despite the handful of people who don’t want to watch them play.
I can’t say that I had faced racial or sexist incidents, but there is plenty negative feedback on social media, with inappropriate comments against me.
I don’t consider myself a sports star, but my path is something like of a pioneer, because my face is out there right now.
I kind of sense that responsibility of reshaping the way people think about football, because I still hear questions like “are you really playing?”.
Many think that I play flag football (e.n.: a version of American football, with basic rules similar to those of the “tackle football”, but instead of tackling players to the ground, the defensive team must remove a flag from the ball carrier) and they don’t believe I play actual football.
Some of them don’t even know it exists.
Hopefully, with me being out there and do the things that I do, many of them will at least check our sport out and perhaps catch a game. If we do that, we can show people our talent and work ethic and get viewers. That’s a main thing.
We believe we can do anything a man can do.
Football came up because all my brothers play football.
I have a twin brother. We were born premature. We were not expected to live… At 12 years old, I was diagnosed with scoliosis and I was told I should never play sports because if I were hit the wrong way, I could be paralyzed.
But all my brothers play running backs and I guess I didn’t have much choice growing up and playing outside with them.
I never imagined that playing just for fun would prepare me to do it professionally. But being out, running and catching balls, getting tackles, got me started for other sports.
I got the mentality to play hard, to try for records in track and field, that helped me receive a full scholarship to Texas A&M.
But Julio Jones, the Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver and other NFL players were really supportive and football was always on my mind.
I was a total “tomboy” and I loved it after I started play flag football. Then they recruited me to play rugby and I practiced for a year.
I tried out for the US team for the 2020 Olympics, but it didn’t work out and I ended up signing that multi-million contract with the L.A. Fames of the Women’s Football League Association (WFLA).
I hadn’t thought of playing football professionally. I don’t think any woman had thought about that.
Lupe Rose, the owner of the L.A. Fames and the CEO of the new WFLA league, had watched me since I was in college and made me an offer to play for her team.
Rose is a strong woman and believes in women empowerment. I am not surprised that she tried to do something that hadn’t been done yet. It’s been a crazy ride for both of us!
Even though my brothers play, my mother wasn’t the happiest person in the world hearing that I will do it professionally.
But playing rugby and getting hit eased her mind a little bit. They all are surprisingly supportive. My siblings know how it feels to get hit, to get concussions and they just want me to be safe and healthy.
My family also transformed my business ideas as my biological father and my stepdad are businessmen and my mom always encouraged me to build my own brand and succeed in my own.
When I was in high school, I wrote my first book.
“The Struggle” is about child abuse, because I had friends that were being abused at home by their parents. They used to come to school and tell me stories about it.
At first, I didn’t know that I would end up writing a book.
One summer, after my sophomore year at high school, I wrote it in dedication to my friends, after of course I changed the names and added my own twist to it. I wanted to spread the light on something which is a very serious issue that most people don’t talk about it.
That was one of the things I remember growing up in Texas, even though my main thing as a kid was football.
Texas is known and famous for football. Family and friends were sitting in front of the TV every Sunday is a memory I will never forget. That was my entire life since I was seven years old, until now.
Texas, to me, is like a lone country. Everybody is different and you know someone is from there just because of how they talk or walk.
I am grateful that I come from a place like this, because Texas separated from the others and made me who I am.
Before football, I had an Olympic dream in rugby, but I got injured.
I caught the eye of the USA Olympic Rugby coach and was invited to a tryout despite me not knowing anything about the sport, because of my speed and agility.
But I got hurt with a hamstring injury and it wasn’t easy to get through that because I worked so hard and suddenly it was all over…
It’s something really traumatized, losing one moment and one opportunity, taken from you totally without having any control.
It was tough, I nearly went through depression and I cried a lot. But I am a woman of faith and I realized that this happened because God prepared me for something bigger.
It was true, as I signed a big contract to make history. That set me with a new mission.
The new WFLA is gonna be something fans have never seen, for women playing in the highest level.
We got players from USA, from the UK, from all over the world and it will be a different level of size and talent.
It will be very similar to the NFL, as far as how it’s structured and the games are gonna be run.
Fans and Media should expect that this will be a very professional league.
The new league is something fascinating, as my personal efforts regarding my own shoe company, the “Tronus”.
The idea came up because I was already working with other shoe companies and I realized how much I am helping them to grow.
The fans always reacted in a great way to every post of mine and I thought about my own design or even a brand.
When I posted the first design everybody went crazy, loved it kept asking how they can buy it. We started thinking about a new shoe line, not just a shoe.
I posted some more, in different colors and the reactions were even crazier, so my mother, who is also my manager, told me about a company.
I thought at the time that this is a far pitch, but I also thought that we can do it. We got the support, we got the ideas she was the one to talk me to it.
It was a two-year process, but we jumped into it immediately and my designer, who had worked for the biggest shoe companies in the world really pulled this off.
There were ups and downs, there were times that I didn’t want to do it anymore because it is so stressful, but I kept going when I understood the bigger picture. The reactions were insane! I hadn’t realized that I was the first female athlete to own a sneaker company.
My family, my friends are proud of me and it’s been a great experience and we still got a lot to do. I am overwhelmed, grateful and always try to be humble.
The “Tronus” name has ties with Greek language.
We were looking for names and many of the ones we liked were already taken. We thought about my personal brand, the “Queen of Abs” or something familiar to royalty.
My mom did a research and told about “Tronus”. I asked her what it means and she told me that it’s the Greek word for “throne”. It made sense and we loved it.
Everything you do reflects on you, shows your character. Sometimes this is something you do by your own in social media.
I always wanted to be authentic and not wearing a mask to gain followers. Many times people are so intrigued by my videos working out or promoting me shoes and that was helpful.
It’s difficult to stay true to yourself with all this publicity, but it’s also a great thing to try for.
I get to be myself. I am a tomboy but I am also very girly and I don’t have to take anything about myself. My mom makes sure I stay in line.
Social media can be a good and a bad thing at the same time. It can be a “weapon” and a “bubble”. It can create so many opportunities, it can help you make money but, you know, there are some weird people following you.
Whenever I read a negative, crazy or mean comment, I prefer to ignore or delete it or block the follower.
I got a total vision of what I do in social media. The main thing is to not worry about what people think about you.
You can be nice, positive, powerful, helpful but negative people will always have something bad to say.
You just can’t think that social media is a burden. You got to worry about other things. Things that can inspire others.
Being a pioneer in sports or business may be a heavy weight to carry, as there are big expectations all the time, but what I do is what I always wanted to do.
I understand what it comes with it and I am happy if I motivate and inspire people. Sometimes is overwhelming.
I believe in destiny. I believe that we were born for what we do and we are given a certain mentality and gifts before we come to life, sports related or not. You got to work on that gifts, expand your horizons and put yourself in a position to motivate others.
Some people are more gifted but it’s our job to bring out the best of ourselves, to inspire the next generation.
That’s why you shouldn’t just stick to sports.
I am also an ambassador for “Awareness Ties”, for many human causes and animal rights as well as supporting causes for scoliosis.
Athletes have a large platform to talk and support for human rights, poverty, children and we all must be on board like we did with the Champs Sports and Eastbay Launch “#NeverNotAnAthlete”, to contribute to COVID-19 relief efforts.
Athletes have a duty to help spread awareness to anything that affects the society. It’s our duty to be vocal, be out there and help the world as much as we can.It’s also our job to set examples and inspire people and especially young black women to chase their dreams.
My moto is “go get it” and you got to keep dreaming.
Sports had taught me everything. They taught how to be a leader, how to take chances and risks, how to get on myself and how not to put everything in one basket.
Playing taught me how to never give up, how to deal with adversity and transformed to who I am today.
You got to fight for what you want and truly believe in. You must do whatever it takes to achieve it and protect that dreams, with no excuses.
Santia Deck is a professional American football player for the L.A. Fames of the Women’s Football League Association’s (WFLA) and the first female athlete who owns a sneaker shoe company.
Editor: George Adamopoulos
CHECK IT OUT:
Enes Kanter: “Other people’s voice”