Global Matters

Helping female players thrive off the pitch: Introducing The Second Half

Visa's career development programme to support female footballers.

By Adrian Farina , SVP Europe Marketing, Visa

February 27,2020 09:01 AM GMT
The Second Half

We are often told by our female Team Visa footballers that their sporting careers are the most enriching and exciting period of their lives. They are driven by a deep seated desire and passion to succeed, investing an incredible amount of time and working intensely hard to develop their skills. These are characteristics that we can all relate to and strive for in our own lives.

However, we are seeing that players are increasingly looking to create opportunities alongside football, to provide a platform for their future once their football career has come to an end.

It’s well known that sport provides the tools and skills to set you up for success in business. Recent statistics reveal that nearly three-quarters of executive women say experience in sports can help accelerate a career and 74% of Fortune 500 female executives have played sport during their formative years.1

Inspired by our successful partnership with UEFA Women’s Football and the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, we are committed to supporting and enabling female footballers to succeed in the workplace – whether that be during their football career or when they’ve retired and hung up their boots.

So today, we are proud and excited to announce The Second Half, a new programme created by Visa to support the development of personal and professional skills for female footballers. It will include access to internal and external training in areas such as financial literacy, media training and leadership. We will help players build their personal brand, as well as provide opportunities for them to receive mentoring from Visa employees and other work experience, giving players real business experience to help them in the future.

To help us create and build this unique programme, we have collaborated with Karen Carney MBE (Former England player) and Team Visa footballer Kim Little (Arsenal Captain, Scotland Vice-Captain) to make sure that The Second Half offers invaluable support to players considering their career beyond football.

One of England’s most decorated footballers, Karen is working closely with us to consult on the programme’s planning and roll-out, with a core focus being the provision of assistance to players looking to transition from the pitch to the workplace. Since finishing her football career, she has carved out a successful role as a football analyst and pundit. She has seen first-hand the huge growth of the female game driven by the professionalism and is passionate about supporting the next generation of players. But she also knows that it is imperative to ensure that there are pathways in place to allow players to transition smoothly and efficiently.

Karen Carney, Visa consultant, said: “I’m delighted to be working in partnership with Visa to help them create their player development programme, The Second Half. I’ve seen the passion and desire from the brand to support players both on and off the pitch and knew I had to be involved in how this should be created. I was very lucky to have a relatively smooth transition into my new career, but I’m aware that’s not the case for all players. That’s why I know this programme will benefit a lot of people and why it is so important.”

Kim has been coming to Visa’s London office to pilot the programme and has gained access to the latest in leadership training and business skills to help her hone her own skills and expand her business knowledge. With her feedback, we will continue to adapt and refine the programme further, paving the way for players in the future to take part in the programme.

Kim Little, Team Visa footballer, said: “I’m very pleased to be part of Visa’s new programme, The Second Half. My whole life has been dedicated to sport so it’s going to be very different gaining some real business experience. My ambition is to learn a skill-set that will help me succeed off the pitch while also providing feedback to Visa and collaborating with Karen to ensure other female footballers can benefit.”

Through The Second Half, we will help female footballers recognise that their skills are transferable, showing how they will be able to apply these skills outside of sport. As a result, we believe we’ll see more businesses benefiting from the valuable contributions, diverse thinking and unique skill-sets of female footballers and other elite athletes.

After the pilot phase, we are aiming to roll the programme out across Europe, to support as many players as possible. This is another exciting step for Visa in our long-term commitment to support women and women’s football.

1EY and espnW “Where Will You Find Your Next Leader?” study

Women’s Empowerment Team Visa