Game Changer Awards

How coach inspired Bay FC's Rushton in male-dominated soccer industry

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Before Lucy Rushton became the general manager of Bay FC, she was a young woman struggling to find her place in the male-dominated soccer industry. 

Thankfully for Rushton, she met people who gave her confidence and helped her elevate her career. 

One person, in particular, who greatly supported Rusthon was Brian McDermott. Roughly 15 years ago, McDermott was the chief scout at Reading F.C -- an English soccer club -- and Rushton was an early-career performance analyst.

During NBC Sports Bay Area's Game Changer Awards, Rushton explained how McDermott positively changed her life.

“As a 23-year-old video analyst walking into a professional men’s coaching office, I felt an incredible amount of anxiety, fear, nerves,” Rushton recalled. “‘Do I deserve to be here?’ Imposter syndrome was real.

“The first person I met when I walked in was Brian. Brian looked at me and said, ‘Lucy, come sit in here. I’m so intrigued to hear about what you can teach me and how it can help us.’ And in that moment, wow. Brian welcomed me as a female into the men’s game and took away all of those fears. 

“He made me feel a sense of belonging, a sense of worthiness, that my opinions meant something and were valued [and] he made me feel like I deserved to be here and I could make this happen. Without that moment, maybe my career is very different. He gave me the confidence to go and be who I am today.”

McDermott’s words gave Rushton the confidence she needed in a male-dominated field. 

Since her time at Reading, Rushton held various roles in Major League Soccer as Atlanta United FC head of technical recruitment and D.C. United general manager before becoming Bay FC general manager in the NWSL. 

McDermott knew Rushton was special when they first met and knows she is the same special person today.

“I first met Lucy in 2008, and what she had was likeability,” McDermott said. “It was a completely male-dominated environment we lived in, football. Hard-nosed people in the building, and I can only imagine what it was like for her. I learned so much in that time. 

“Lucy’s an absolute trailblazer, an absolute trailblazer. And when people talk to me about Lucy in a male-dominated environment, it was never an issue, to me. She’s brilliant at what she does. She’s not good, she’s brilliant.”

Rushton has been a force on the soccer scene for over a decade. McDermott’s impact not only boosted her career but drove the game forward.

The proof is in the pudding, as she is the first-ever Bay FC general manager.

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