Five 9 Sports Management

From NCAA division 2 to the Olympics.

Melissa Ortiz played at Lynn University and went on, not only to play pro, but also the biggest tournaments in the world.

After her playing career she dived straight into becoming one of the world´s top influencers in soccer. From broadcast media to Nike campaigns, she has managed to create her own dream job.

Tell us about what you do?

I don´t know what exactly I do haha..! I call myself a full-rounded entrepreneur in the soccer space. My main job is in media, so everything from in-stadium hosting for the New York Red Bulls to digital hosting for La Liga, beIN sports and bleacher report, to mention a few. The goal is to continue to do those things in broadcast media and also hopefully one day be a host for a show or a TV channel (in soccer of course). I´m also working with social media influencing where I have now positioned myself as one of the top soccer influencers in the country, and maybe in the world. Not just by following base, but also by relevance in regards to the types of brands I have worked for and with.

Apart from that, I have a few projects on the side that I´m building. One of them is to become a FIFA intermediary.

Picture from @melissaortiz5

What is the best part about your job?

Best part about my job is working at my own rate with my own hours. It comes with its pluses and negatives, but I´m the type of person that likes to be my own boss. If I want to work 12 hours today and 4 hours tomorrow, I can do that. However, with that being said, the more you put into it the more you get back. Even though you decide everything for yourself, I think all entrepreneurs agree with me when I say this: you will definitely work more, because you create your own destiny and write your own journey. You actually end up doing a lot more and being a bit more stressed than if you worked for someone else. At least in my experience. But at the same time that is exactly what I love the most about it: being my own boss and working in something that I absolutely love and enjoy, and that is my big passion: soccer.

Picture from @melissaortiz5

Where or who do you get inspiration from?

A mix of people really inspired me to do what I´m doing now. First off, whether it was playing soccer professionally or going to the Olympics, or just chasing my dreams in general, my mom and my family have been my prime motivation and inspiration. Particularly my mom. She has always been the one who said "go for your dreams, don´t have any regrets, do what you want to do and believe in yourself". She has always pushed me beyond what I thought was ever possible.

In terms of my job, part of where I got my inspiration from was actually after listening to an audio book by Gary Vee called "crushing it". I used to listen to it in my car rides back in 2017 or 2018 and it literally just says "fuck everyone" haha.. Do what you want to do, don´t care about what other people might think, and start creating content around what you love and what your passion is. Work hard on it every day, create create create and you will see a return. And actually, that´s exactly what happened. As soon as I started creating videos and talking about soccer on camera, within six months I was already getting jobs, collaborations and opportunities with brands and companies and whatnot. So he was definitely someone who showed me that there is opportunity as long as you start creating and put your stuff out there.

Picture from @melissaortiz5

You played for the same school as one of our current players - what was your college experience like?

Lynn University was such a good experience. South Florida is first of all a beautiful area to be in, which is also where I grew up. At the university I was able to really enjoy 4 years living on campus and playing great soccer in a top environment. Great stadium as well.. In terms of education, I got both an Undergraduate and Masters degree within my four years, in international business and marketing. Lynn is a great institution and I think it is one of the most beautiful campuses in Florida in general.

Picture from @melissaortiz5

(Our Matilda Larsson currently plays for Lynn)

3 favorite players?

Marta is number one. Number two... Messi. And number three Steven Gerrard.

Picture from @melissaortiz5

Best one you played with or against?

Definitely Marta. She is just a phenomenal player... extremely fast, technical and unlike any female player I have ever played against or seen.

Of players I have played with.. one of my teammates on the national team, Carolina Usme. She is super talented, both with her right and left foot. Any freekick or even a shot from 40 yards out she is able to blast it into the upper 90. We actually tied USA in the Olympics because of two set pieces that she scored. She is definitely one of the best players I have ever played with.

Favorite stadium?

I honestly think - and this might be surprising - but Atlanta´s Mercedez-Benz Stadium is definitely top notch. Not only because it is humongous, but it is also a fusion of American sporting culture with soccer intertwined in it. Meaning, you have soccer going on, and at the same time there are huge screens, fire, and all these other special effects going on... It´s a really cool environment, and one of my more recent favorites. Although I hate that it is turf!

Overseas one of the most memorable I have been to is Celtic Park, when Celtic played Barca in the Champions League. I teared up during that game.

However, my favorite team is Liverpool and I have yet to see a match at Anfield, so that is on my bucketlist.

Picture from @melissaortiz5

Which of all your soccer jersey´s is your most worn? And which one will you get next?

I´m honestly not sure, I switch them out a lot. But I´m guessing it is probably the Colombia jersey. That is the one I usually wear if I watch them play, or go to a World Cup.

Which one I will get next? Hmm, I recently got a Inter jersey. And even though it is not soccer, I was also just given a Kobe Bryant jersey from a friend, which I´m really quite humbled about.

Picture from @melissaortiz5

What are you most proud of so far in your life? And what is your next goal?

Being an Olympian is definitely one of my greatest prides and accomplishments. Apart from that I must say that I am also proud of who I am. That I am just fully myself, confident, true to my values and to how my parents raised me.

My next goal is to have a show or be a host of a show in soccer. Hopefully within the next few years. I have set my short-term and long-term goals, but I honestly go a lot day by day. As long as I´m grinding and hustling every day, I am proud of that. If I keep doing the right things, I believe everything that I set myself up for is reachable.

Picture from @melissaortiz5

If someone looks at your page and is like "I wanna do what Meli is doing!" - what would be your advice for them?

My advice would be to start creating content as much as they can. Whether that´s doing videos of them juggling, or talking about soccer (or baseball or whatever they´re passionate about). As long as you start creating content and putting it out so people can see it, you automatically get practice and experience from that. Everything takes a lot of practice, and it is not easy. When I look back at my videos from a few years ago, I realize that I have improved tremendously just by practicing, trying and creating. So start now! And don´t care what other people think. Figure out what your passion is, and find your niche.

I also think networking is your biggest value. Put yourself out there, network, go to events, write to people.. Try to have the confidence to approach people and be like "hey, this is my name, I´d love to be more involved.." or "I´d like to pick your brain on something"... Those things are extremely valuable, especially as you start to grow and build your own platform.

Anything else you want to say or share with the Five 9ers?

Anything is achievable as long as you put your heart and mind into it. I know that´s very cliché, but it´s true. I´ve always lived such an underdog story... I went to a D2 college and worked my way up to the Colombian national team. I worked my ass off to make the final roster for the World Cup and Olympics. Was I the best player? No! But one thing that I always had is work ethic. And I never gave up. So for all the Five 9ers, it would be exactly that: work for your dreams and never give up and. Work harder than others and anything is definitely achievable!

Uppdaterad: 6 maj 2020

OLIVIA SANDAHL bytte Skövde mot Miami sommaren 2018, för att spela på Florida International University. Hon är inne på år två, och har nyss gjort klart med ett nytt lag. Till hösten flyttar hon till UMass Lowell - en D1-skola i Boston-trakten.

Hur har dina första 2 år i USA varit?

Mina första två år i USA har varit bland det roligaste jag gjort. Upplevelsen, fotbollen och alla man träffar under tiden är det absolut bästa. Man lever som om man är proffsspelare och reser runt i USA, samtidigt som man får en utbildning. Skulle rekommendera detta till alla som får möjlighet!

foto: @oliviasandaahl

foto: @oliviasandaahl

Största skillnaden mellan klubblag i Sverige och college i USA?

 Jag skulle säga att collegefotbollen är mer fysiskt krävande. Det är mycket löpning och styrketräning jämfört med Sverige, och matcherna är ännu mer fysiska. Svensk fotboll är istället mer taktisk. Där krävs smartare och mer tekniska spelare.

foto: @oliviasandaahl

Bästa med college?

Det bästa med college är helt klart kompisarna man träffar i laget, fotbollen och alla resor man gör tillsammans.

foto: @oliviasandaahl

Vad har du för mål/planer efter graduation?

Efter graduation vet jag inte riktigt vad jag vill, förutom att jag ska börja arbeta med ekonomi. Förhoppningsvis på något intressant företag. Just nu lutar det åt att flytta tillbaka till Sverige igen eller neråt i Europa. Samtidigt lockar det att försöka stanna kvar i USA också. 

foto: @oliviasandaahl

Vad saknar du mest från Sverige när du är i USA?

När jag är i Sverige saknar jag laget och alla kompisar runt omkring, fotbollen, resorna, säsongen och till och med plugget.

foto: @oliviasandaahl

Vad saknar du från USA nu när du är i Sverige?

När jag är i USA saknar jag familj och vänner hemma i Sverige. Och absolut maten. 

foto: @oliviasandaahl

Förebild inom fotbollen?

 Har ingen speciell förebild inom fotbollen, men jag inspireras och motiveras av andra kvinnor som det går bra för, och som tar för sig inom sporten. Tycker det är väldigt kul att se fler och fler svenska tjejer som vågar flytta till USA, och samtidigt gör väldigt bra ifrån sig på college.

foto: @oliviasandaahl

Förebild i livet/annan sport?

Jag har många förebilder, men främst närstående. En som spelade med mig första året på college är nu ägare av ett växande företag där hon hjälper nystartade företag att skapa sig ett varumärke. Redan när hon spelade med mig hade hon en massa andra projekt vid sidan av, och hon är bara en väldigt driven kvinna. Definitivt en förebild för mig. Sen har jag en väldigt bra vän till mig som också är väldigt driven både i träning, skolan och i entreprenörskap. Jag kan sitta i flera timmar med honom och prata om idéer och tankar. 

foto: @oliviasandaahl

Bästa spelaren/spelarna du spelat med?

Definitivt Ellen Halseth!

Det kanske ser ut som att det går skitbra för alla hela tiden om man kollar på våra sociala medier, där vi ofta delar spelarnas framgångar. Och sanningen är att många gjort väldigt bra ifrån sig, vunnit, fått utmärkelser osv. Men såklart händer det dåliga saker också.

När jag åkte ner till Alingsås i början av sommaren 2019 var tanken att se Matilda Larsson och Alice Uddberg spela mot varandra, då Alingsås mötte Qviding.

Istället satt Matilda med mig på läktaren, eftersom hon skadat knät på träningen innan. Det var inte bekräftat ännu, men hon var själv i princip säker på att korsbandet var av. Jag imponerades stort av hennes positiva inställning - hon visade inte minsta tecken på uppgivenhet utan var samma glada Matilda som vanligt. Visste redan då att hennes rehab skulle gå super!

Några dagar senare visade det sig att hon haft rätt. Korsbandsoperation var såklart det sista hon ville göra med några veckor kvar till sitt nya äventyr i USA.

Det blir inte alltid som man tänkt sig, men det kan bli bra ändå! Matilda bestämde sig för att åka trots skadan och behöll det stipendium som hon redan skrivit på.

Och även om rehab inte är det man drömmer om så gick en annan dröm i uppfyllelse - Matilda började på college i Florida.

Lynn University, Boca Raton

Nu, mer än ett halvår senare, är hon inne på sin andra termin på Lynn University, där hon haft palmer, sol och nya vänner som hjälpt henne tillbaka från skadan. Kanske lite lättare än vad det hade varit hemma en Alingsås-vinter?

Bild: systrarna Larsson i Alingsås FC hemmaställ

Igår fyllde Matilda 21 år och firade med bland annat sin syster, Lovisa, som går på en annan skola cirka 30 minuter bort. Vi hälsar ett stooort grattis och ser fram emot att träffa er båda i Sunshine State om lite mer än en månad!

Fotboll på college i usa

College fotboll


scholarship usa

stipendium i usa

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