Reign FC Legend: Mary Harvey
The Legends Campaign, a partnership between Seattle Reign FC and Avanade, honors women for their extraordinary contributions in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Prior to our March 24 match against the Washington Spirit, Seattle Reign FC will recognize former USWNT Goalkeeper and FIFA World Cup winner, Mary Harvey, as a Seattle Reign FC Legend.
Mary Harvey began her career as a goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s National Team. She and her teammates won the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991 and went on to collect the gold medal in the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.
Mary then served on the U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors for 12 years, including five on the Executive Committee. Her work in soccer continued when she accepted a role as the Director of Development with FIFA, where she was the first American and first woman to be a head of a department at the organization. In her role, she managed the development budget for FIFA, including programs as the Financial Assistance Program and FIFA’s education programs. While at FIFA, Mary advocated for and implemented enormous changes to develop the women’s game.
Today, Mary is working with United 2026 to make the 2026 World Cup Bid the most diverse and inclusive FIFA World Cup to date.
Mary is a true pioneer and lifelong advocate for the women’s game. Her efforts have helped transform women’s soccer and have led directly to better experiences for women and men in and around the game. Earlier this week we sat down with Mary to discuss her life of advocacy and her experiences in amateur and professional soccer.
What led you to want to become an activist and how did you become the leader you are today?
Mary: Really, it had a lot to do with my original national team teammates. That team was truly special. Every single one of those women inspired me to fight for what’s right. We didn’t have very much opportunity back then and we had to fight for the opportunities that we got. We wanted to create something that those that came after us could benefit from what we did.
How did you get involved in your current role?
Mary: Well, I’ve been around the governance side of the game for quite some time, having worked for U.S, Soccer, FIFA, and the like. When the United 2026 Bid was coming together, I wanted make an impact. It was an opportunity to make a positive impact on the FIFA World Cup, and I wanted to be a part of it.
What was the hardest barrier you had to break through?
M: I would say that when I went to work for FIFA, it was the first time in my life that I encountered a very different type of environment as an executive. It was a new environment where I had to find a new way to be effective
If you had one piece of advice to give to your 15-year-old self?
M: It’s going to be fine. It’s going to be okay. Fight for what you love and it’ll be okay.