For our next round of Game Changers, we had the opportunity to chat with Leslie Osborne, a former member of the US Women's national soccer team, the co-founder of Sweat Cosmetics, a recurring soccer analyst and commentator for FOX Sports, and a mom of two girls. And on top of all that, she's been a huge Dagne Dover fan for years, and has quite the collection of our bags.
How did you first get introduced to Dagne Dover?
Melissa and I connected back in 2016 about potential brand collaborations. We sent the Dagne team some Sweat product and vice versa, and from there it was history. We use Dagne in photo shoots and ambassador opportunities, and my entire collection of day-to-day bags and travel bags is Dagne Dover. We’re big fans here.
What was your first Dagne bag?
The Dakota Backpack in Dune, which I got right before a trip to London with my husband. I actually had my Medela Freestyle pump in the backpack, and I would stop and pump throughout the trip. It was perfect because it was trendy, but still functional for my needs.
What was it like transitioning from your soccer career to founding Sweat Cosmetics?
Looking back, it was all very organic. We actually founded the company while we were playing professionally. Two of my founders, Taryn and Emily, initially came up with the idea to which I immediately said yes. My entire career I had been struggling with the concept of looking and feeling good without needing to wear a face full of makeup. Even wearing sunscreen was a problem, it would run into my eyes and burn as I played. There wasn’t a product out there designed for a woman like me that combined sweat-proof sunscreen and makeup. When the five of us [Leslie Osborne, Taryn Hemmings, Emily Hines, Courtney Jones, and Lindsay Tarpley] came together to play for the Boston Breakers, we decided to commit to this company.
It actually took us three years from conception to launch in 2015, during the Women’s World Cup. It was really cool for us because we were our own target market and understood the needs of the customer. We surveyed our teammates and former teammates, we raised the money, found the chemist and the packaging manufacturer, all while we played.
The transition from retiring from soccer to becoming a cofounder was pretty seamless because of the fact that I’d been doing a lot of this all while playing. It wasn’t this huge chapter change in my book. Also the fact that there’s five of us, I feel like I’m still part of a team. I think the one thing people struggle with when they stop playing professionally is the fact that you miss your teammates, you miss that locker room, you miss those moments on and off the field. Even though we’re not together every day, we get to collaborate, we’re competitive, and we know our strengths and weaknesses. I feel so fortunate that I have this passion after my soccer career. I’ve seen some of my teammates go through both extremes after their careers.
With everything that you’ve done and you’ve accomplished, what would you say was the most “badass” moment of your life?
Hm this is a tough one. I'd have to say representing my country and playing in a World Cup. In addition to that, I made the Olympic team in 2008 but, unfortunately, a few days after I made the roster, I tore my left ACL and my ankle at the same time. I had to have major surgery to reconstruct both my ankle and my leg, and it took me a year and half to come back. Every doctor, except for the one who ended up operating on me, told me I would never play professionally again and that my career was done. I ended up coming back and playing a year and half later, and I remember standing up there during the national anthem and having tears in my eyes. That was the hardest comeback I’d ever had to go through up until that point. It helped shape me into who I am today.
Another thing I always reflect on is the fact that none of my co-founders and I have MBAs but we were still able to build this company. We went straight from the soccer field to running a company. We often don’t give ourselves enough credit. We’re female-founded and female-run, similar to Dagne Dover. Sometimes I take a step back and think, “Wow, look what we’ve done and how far we’ve come.” And, I can’t talk about badass moments without mentioning being a mom, and still being able to tackle my dreams. I feel like a rockstar being a mom. I feel like I’ve been given superpowers.
Who would you say is your biggest mentor?
I’d have to say my dad. We’re very close and I’ve looked up to him since I was little. He’s always been the one to help me, and set me up with good advice from a young age. He’s also been my biggest fan. He’s traveled around the world over and over to support me. I think he only missed two games of my entire career. He’s probably been to 20 countries to watch me play. I’m thankful to have him. I’ve had great mentors for shorter periods of time, but my foundation is my dad.
What’s the best career advice you’ve received?
I feel lucky to have had so many amazing role models on the field, in my business, and in the TV broadcasting world. One of my mentors, Dan Nova, told me a long time ago that if I work hard and have a good attitude, I’m going to end up being successful. I did not like the idea of someone working harder than me, that would keep me up at night. Everything I learned playing a team sport and playing soccer at such a high level has helped prepare me for what has come after my soccer career. It all translates off the field to what I’m doing now, as a mother, wife, co-founder, and TV analyst.
When do you feel most empowered?
I feel most empowered knowing and acknowledging that I was able to go from being 100% soccer-focused to now being able to be so multi-faceted, whether it be with my family, in Sweat, or being on TV. Now my day looks so different, but I think I’m more fulfilled this way because I’m raising my two little girls and I’m able to have an impact on more than just playing soccer.
What are you most excited about for 2020?
I’m super excited about Sweat getting into the skincare market. It’s been such a fun process working on R&D. It’s been a long-time coming, and we’re now we’re ready to expand our product and dabble in a new category. It’s going to be a big year for us. We’re launching our new blush in December!
Do you foresee your daughters playing soccer?
We do laugh about it. My husband played professionally too. He played in the MLS for the LA Galaxy and the Colorado Rapids, so we are totally that soccer couple. My oldest who just turned 3, Olivia, is obsessed with soccer. All she wants to do is play soccer and wear her jerseys. We joke about it because we don’t want her to get burnt out with it, she’s only 3! I didn’t start playing until I was 10. And which one of us would be the coach if they were to play?! We would love if one of them played soccer, but most importantly, we just want them to play a sport, work hard on a team and find what they love.