For Jean Soehn, soccer is much more than a sport; it’s a way of life. As an accomplished soccer player, wife of a professional soccer coach, and mother of four soccer-playing kids, Soehn’s passion for the sport is indomitable.
So indomitable, in fact, that Soehn has founded a unique and spirited business, designed to inspire and reward girls who are dedicated to the sport of soccer.
This is the story of Kick Like A Girl – and we sat down with Soehn to get the full scoop.
Q: Let’s start at the beginning; what’s your background, and what role does soccer play in that story?
A: Well, I grew up in Roseville, MN. I started playing soccer at the age of six and never looked back! Soccer became my true passion; at the age of 14, I was determined to earn a soccer scholarship – and worked every day towards that goal! I attended Roseville Area High School, where I played on the Varsity soccer team for four years, winning the State High School Championship in 1988 on my 18th bday! I was then awarded a soccer scholarship to the University of Denver. I played collegiate soccer from 1989-93, racking up many awards, including CAC Player of the Year and All-American honors. I earned my BSBA degree in Marketing from the university in 1993. I forged a 15+ year career in Medical Sales after graduation, but always knew that one day, I would start my own company centered around soccer!
Q: So it goes without saying, soccer has majorly impacted your life.
A: Definitely. My love of soccer began when I was six years old – the first time I touched the ball. I am an athlete and a “cardio junkie.” Soccer is perfect because it encompasses true athletic skill and you run a lot – an average of 6-8 miles a game. I was good at soccer and it provided a way for me to channel my energy in a positive way when things in my adolescent life became difficult. I truly believe that, if not for soccer, I would be in a very different place in my life right now. Additionally, soccer is huge for my family. My husband, Tommy, is a coach for the New England Revolution, and all four of our kids play! As for me, I continue to coach and knock around the ball whenever I can.
Q: Let’s talk about the product. How did you come up with this idea?
A: Kick Like a Girl just came to me one day. I was sitting at a tournament, watching my kids receive their awards. When we got home and put the awards in their rooms, something dawned on me. My kids like their trophies and medals but they end up collecting dust in their rooms and no one else sees their accomplishments. I came up with the idea of having the kids “wear” their awards. I wanted to create a mechanism by which the kids can show their accomplishments wherever they go and feel pride! I call it their “Traveling Trophy Case.”
I soon partnered with a firm in Minneapolis that helped take us from idea to prototype, and now we are developing the bands in Vadnais Heights. The ultimate goal of Kick Like A Girl is to encourage athletes to be the best they can be – on and off the field! As a result, they’ll be awarded PENTAS that they can display on their bands!
Q: What’s behind the idea of PENTAS?
A: We decided to change the name from Charms to PENTAS, mainly because we have had such strong interest from other sports groups and organizations such as Girl Scouts, Special Olympics, etc. If you look at our logo, it’s a panel from the soccer ball – the shape of a pentagon. What’s more, each point on a pentagon represents the 5 elements of life; earth, air, fire, water and SPIRIT. I want the kids to understand all aspects of life – especially the importance of SPIRIT. No one can take away your spirit!
Q: Maybe this is a silly question, but is Kick Like A Girl just for girls?
A: Yes and no! Kick Like a Girl is being marketed to girls right now, but we’re in the process of creating a parent corporation named PentUP Sports. Once that’s buttoned up, we’ll start marketing our product to ALL athletes, other sports and organizations.
Q: As a new business owner, what potential do you see for Kick Like A Girl?
A: The future of KLG and PentUP Sports is unlimited! The unique bands will continue to evolve, and we are already creating other designs for housing the PENTAS. We’re also planning an apparel line and many accessories. The future looks very bright!!!