Lindsey Horan’s entire senior year was a consideration. She could either go to college on a Division I scholarship or take an unprecedented — and risky — move to turn pro immediately.
Choosing the latter in 2012, Horan not only made history as the first American to sign professionally straight out of high school. She also opened a door for women footballers everywhere.
“I wanted to prove a lot of people wrong because a lot of people were trying to steer me the other way[to play in college],” Horan recalled. “I also wanted to prove to myself that this is a challenge I can do, make the most of, and become who I want to be.”
Today, Horan is the heartbeat of the US women’s national team midfielder and a star in leagues both in the US and abroad. She has become exactly who she wanted to be. But it wasn’t until a few years after turning pro that she really realized how serious her decision was.
“I don’t think I felt like I was making history until two or three years later,” Horan said. “Not going to college (or staying in college for a little bit) since it became more and more of a thing with several players doing it after that, (Colorado product) Mal Pugh was one of them… It showed that wasn’t only male players can do that. There are ways for female players to do that and there is more and more money so the risk is not that great.”
Horan’s historic move, made even more significant through the lens of Title IX and the expanded opportunities in women’s athletics, nearly fell through. At the age of 17, when she was a junior at Golden High School, she was first offered a contract by Olympique Lyonnais Féminin (her current European club, where she is on loan from the NWSL’s Portland Thorns).
But she didn’t feel quite ready for that leap yet.
So Horan waited a year, and by the time she decided to turn pro, Olympique Lyonnais had already filled all the places for foreign players. Horan thought her chance to turn pro was over, but Paris-Saint Germain walked in and offered her a two-year contract.
A decade later, Horan was also part of the USWNT roster that fought and won for equal pay with his male counterparts.
“We’ve done a lot, but this is just the beginning,” Horan said. “I’m so excited that we’ve achieved (equal pay) … but I hear all the other national teams and where they stand and it saddens me. Hopefully we are now something of the norm and women are demanding that from their federations. This is a huge milestone for us.”
https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/06/22/lindsey-horan-pro-soccer-player-colorado-title-ix/ Lindsey Horan’s historic leap from prep to pro opened the door for women’s footballers – Greeley Tribune