Soccer Star Sarah Gorden Is Done Trying To Be A Superhero Mom

Written by Erin Kelly

Sarah Gorden got into soccer the way most people do: Her parents signed her up, introducing her to the sport at the age of six. At first, she wasn’t wild about it. But a few years into playing, she started to notice a few things. One, she was faster than everyone else, and two, people kept telling her how good she was. That validation got her excited about the sport, and she hasn’t looked back since.

Today, the 30-year-old mom of one plays for Angel City FC, Los Angeles’s first women’s professional soccer team. Despite an injury sidelining her entire 2022 season, she’s shown no signs of slowing down. In addition to playing soccer professionally, Gorden has a long list of job titles: She’s a mom to 9-year-old Caiden, a sideline sports broadcaster, a model, and the founder of a non-profit called HoodSpace, which aims to empower young women of color through meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices. While her accomplishments add up, Gorden admits she’s only human: Some days, she comes home after a long training session to find she has little-to-no energy left for her family. But Gorden doesn’t apologize or make excuses — instead, she feels grateful for the opportunity to do what she loves every day.

For more open and honest insights from Gorden, Bustle partnered with e.l.f. Cosmetics to learn about the professional athlete and what it’s like to be an unapologetic queen. Here are four things to know about the rising soccer star.

1. Every Day Begins With A Meditation

Whether it’s a game day or training day, Gorden’s morning routine always looks the same. She religiously rises early, takes a cold shower (that’s right, ice cold) and meditates for 20 minutes. Sometimes she adds breath work to the mix, but the early wake-up, cold shower, and meditation are non-negotiable.

“I’m an anxious person, so my mornings are about remaining calm and not being on my phone,” Gorden says.

2. Her Skin-Care Game Rivals That Of Her Soccer Skills

A self-proclaimed “big skin-care girlie,” Gorden easily applies sunscreen three to four times per day, especially on long training days when she’s outside from nearly 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. “I really care about skin care — even more than makeup — just because I’m sweating so much during training and on game days,” she Gorden.

Gorden chooses Suntouchable! Invisible Sunscreen SPF 35 from e.l.f. Cosmetics, a completely clear sunscreen-and-makeup-primer hybrid that’s long-lasting and water resistant: “I need something lightweight, because I’m going to reapply it multiple times, and also, I’m sweating constantly. The last thing I want is clogged pores or a breakout.” The fact that all e.l.f. products are free from phthalates, parabens, nonylphenol ethoxylates, triclosan, triclocarban, and hydroquinone is just icing on the cake, as Gorden strives to use non-toxic (or in a pinch, low-tox) products.

On days she’s working on the sidelines as a broadcaster or in the studio for a modeling gig, Gorden is known to go “full glam” and locks in her look with Suntouchable! All Set for Sun SPF 45, a clear, quick-dry sunscreen setting spray that primes, protects, refreshes, and sets her makeup in place for days that go into overtime.

3. She’s Stopped Trying To Be A Superhero Mom

On social media, Gorden seems to have it all together. But in reality, she struggles with the double standard she’s noticed as a mom and an athlete: Athletes who are fathers are expected to choose what’s best for their bodies and dedicate themselves to their crafts, but for athletes who are moms, those same actions are often heavily critiqued.

“It’s a delicate balance that I don’t always get right, but I’m always trying my best,” Gorden says of her struggle to be her best self on the field while showing up consistently for her son.

Despite the push and pull of it all, Gorden says being a mom is “so rewarding.” Part of what makes her career so special is experiencing the highs and lows of the sport with her son alongside her. However, she acknowledges that just like the game of soccer, motherhood has ups and downs: “I’m definitely someone who’s given up the idea of being a superhero mom,” she says. “Sometimes the hardest part is accepting that. But I’m living an authentic life and doing the best I can for myself, my son, and those around me.”

4. Above All, She Just Wants To Win

Gorden does a lot behind the scenes and on the sidelines, but when she’s on the field, she only has one goal: to win. “I’m just like a male athlete. I want to win, and I want to continue to get better,” says Gorden.

She understands her unique position to inspire the next generation of professional athletes and doesn’t take anything for granted: “I love the game, and I’m grateful that it’s my job and I get to do it every day.”