With National Girls and Women in Sports Day taking place this week, Sporting JAX would like to highlight the importance that this group makes not just in the sports world, but more specifically within our own front office.
Sporting JAX is blessed to have a pair of all stars in the form of Becky Burleigh and Morgan Tencza who have already made their impact known for the club in its formative stages.
Burleigh is best-known locally for her role in helping start the University of Florida’s women’s soccer program. She quickly built the Gators from the ground up, winning the NCAA championship in the team’s fourth year of existence. In addition, she has experience coaching professionally with the Orlando Pride.
Burleigh was brought on in June 2023 as an advisor for the club’s USL Super League team. She is looking forward to the opportunity, calling it a “full circle moment” after her past involvement in Gainesville.
As for Tencza, she also came aboard in 2023, but as the club’s social media and content manager. Her role may be a bit more digital, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her fair share of experience on the pitch as well.
The New Jersey native has worked numerous jobs with professional soccer clubs and organizations, including the USL’s corporate office in Tampa. While she’s great at controlling what goes out across Sporting JAX’s airwaves, she may be most in her element when there’s a camera in her hands.
“I’m lucky to be a part of the women capturing the scenes of the sports world, from action on the field to emotions in the crowd,” Tencza said. “I get the opportunity to shoot every level of play and showcase the growth of women’s sports.”
Put simply, Tencza does it all. If you’ve seen a graphic on the Sporting JAX Instagram page, she made it. If you saw someone in the corner during the brand launch event frantically working to switch over our social media account names, that was also her.
Now that we’ve introduced you to these two, let’s take a look at this holiday and what it means to this ever-important group.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day was created in 1987 to honor a segment of the industry that had not – and unfortunately in some cases still does – received the recognition and admiration that it deserved.
Burleigh, who has been well involved in the women’s sports scene for decades, has seen the progress firsthand.
“National Girls and Women in Sports Day is a great reminder to celebrate how far we’ve come in our progression and also a motivator to help us continue the work for future generations of women and girls in sport,” Burleigh said.
While the holiday is largely tied to the Title IX ruling of 1972, the struggle for women’s sports goes back much further, and yet is still shockingly recent. It wasn’t until 1970 that the English Football Association lifted the 1921 ban on women’s matches being played on FA club pitches.
Women were denied the opportunity to just play the sport in many countries around the world mere decades ago. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup recently served as a great indicator of the growth of women’s soccer, with host nation Australia’s match against England becoming the most-watched TV broadcast in the nation’s history.
This and many other milestones clearly symbolize a growth in recognition and popularity for women’s sports. It’s important to not just think of the athletes, but also everyone behind the scenes. Tencza will spend 2024’s NGWSD speaking at the Women in Sports panel hosted by the Jacksonville Icemen.
While this is very exciting, she’s ever more excited for the day where women in sports get full recognition 365 days a year.
“This day is so important to showcase the impact that women have had on the world of sports, and to inspire the younger generations that there is a seat at the table for them,” Tencza said. “The women’s sports world is constantly growing and exceeding expectations, so I’m excited for the day this holiday isn’t necessary to bring attention to the achievements women and girls make in sports.”