Meet professional soccer player Cami Privett! Cami discusses earning a NCAA Tournament berth, paying for professional tryouts, being on a foreign team, and starting TLAP!
Sam: Thank you for taking part in this interview, would you please share with our audience a little about yourself & upbringing?
Cami Privett: Of course, I was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. I played for a lot of different clubs including Bakersfield Gunners, California Odyssey Soccer Club, Crescenta Valley Soccer Club, and Real So Cal. I verbally committed to University of California Irvine my Sophomore year of High School, and arrived to Irvine for the season of 2011. I tried out for the Houston Dash in the year of 2015, and since then I have played for the Houston Dash, Kolbotn Kvinner (Norway), and EDF Logrono (Spain).
Sam: You were Big West Conference Freshman of the Year, and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament at UC, Irvine. What do you attribute to having that breakout season?
Cami Privett: That season was absolutely amazing for many reasons, and we were able to have such a great season due to the squad we had. Going into my Freshman year was one of the most intimidating experiences I have ever endured. I was extremely lucky to have the backbone senior class that I had. Specifically, one of my role models, Coco Goodson, and our Head Coach Scott Juniper. I give a lot of our success that season to those two. The amount of energy and commitment they poured into the team was contagious. Being able to look up to such great leaders made that season seem easy, when really it had challenged every aspect of my life. Personally, receiving the Freshman of the Year award was a huge accomplishment for me and I was thankful receiving it, but I would not have played as well as I did that season without the entire squad. It is easy to perform when everyone around you is doing the same. From the starting line up to the bench, everyone was invested, not only to win a title, but for everyone's individual growth as a person.
Sam: After college, you went undrafted & actually paid a $75 try-out fee for the Houston Dash Amateur Team. It payed off and resulted in being invited to preseason along with a contract later. Coach Randy Waldrum had said it was like a “dream story.” Could you share about how those opportunities came about, and the preparation you partook to be ready?
Cami Privett: After I was not drafted I had to make a decision. Do I throw in the towel and consider it a good run, or do I go to open tryouts? I discussed this many times with my family, and my coach. It was an easy decision to keep playing. So, my parents bought me a flight to every open tryout in the NWSL. Houston Dash just happen to be the first tryout of the season. I arrived to the 2-day tryout, and after the first day, Randy Waldrum called me aside and asked if I could make it to the second day of tryouts. I responded with, “thank you so much for your interest, but I have a flight out of Houston to go to Seattle for their open tryouts”. Randy told me to cancel all of my flights and to come in for preseason in March. It was shocking how fast everything had happened, because I didn’t have much time to prepare after because I had to be back in Houston within two weeks.
Sam: What kind of thoughts were going through your mind when you finally had the opportunity to debut playing Kansas City?
Cami Privett: The amount of energy running through me was insane. I can’t even explain the feeling other than adrenaline rush. All I remember was the lights being so bright I could barely keep my eyes open, and before I stepped on the field, I reminded myself how lucky I was my family was in the stands to experience that moment with me.
Sam: During the offseason of your rookie year, you jumped right into the Norwegian Club Kolbotn. Why did you enter the league, and how did you overcome the language barrier with your new teammates & coaches so quickly?
Cami Privett: I entered the league because I wanted to keep my touches up during the offseason. Since I was so new to the league, I wanted to be able to grow during the offseason, so I was better prepared for the new season. At first, it was difficult, but soccer is a universal language on its own. Once I was able to understand simple terms like left, right, step, and man on everything else came naturally.
Sam: How did you personally handle the travel while pursuing your professional soccer dream?
Cami Privett: Having the ability to travel while “working” is a treat. I have learned so much about myself from traveling that I would not have learned otherwise. When you are in a different country, and you are the only one that speaks English, and you have no ability to use your phone, you will surprise yourself. You find solutions to things you never needed solutions for in the past. Something as simple as going to the grocery store, or taking the bus can be overwhelming.
Sam: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received or can offer to young women or individuals chasing their goals?
Cami Privett: The best advice I have received is that accomplishments don't just happen. Yes, it is possible, but you have to work at it. I personally would say set goals that are attainable, once you reach one goal, you should create a new attainable goal. For example, I wasn't always the best player and I’m still not the best player, but I try my very best to be the best player I can be every day. In order to do that I always put myself in challenging situations. I always had a dream team I wanted to strive towards, and once I made that team, I thought of another.
Sam: You recently started a new company. As founder of “Train like a Pro”, where did the idea come from & what is it?
Cami Privett: The idea came from the lack of connection between the community and young professionals. After games, parents would ask if I ran personal training sessions, but there was never a way for them to get ahold of me otherwise. We want to bring awareness to women's soccer by creating a relationship between the community and professional athletes. In order to do so we created Train Like a Pro (TLAP). TLAP is an online website designed for scheduling one-hour personal training sessions with a professional athlete. It's designed for everyone's scheduling convenience. We want to make the process as easy as possible.
Sam: You’ve had an exciting career, and the future looks bright. What’s next for you & where can people follow your journey?
Cami Privett: My future has youth development written all over it. I’m very passionate about growing individuals on and off the field, whether thats soccer or another passion of theirs. My journey is far from finished but if you would like to stay connected then you can follow me on social medias, Train Like a Pro, or you can always come to a game at BBVA Stadium and say “hey” personally.
*Potential minor edits for length, flow, grammatical/formatting.
NEXT: If you enjoyed this article, please read our interview with Pro Surfer and Fashion Designers Camille & Jackie Brady