Profile: Jessica Charman
Hometown: Harefield, England
College Experience: NCAA Division II – Clayton State University
Position: Community & Events Volunteer Manager
In 2017, England native Jessica Charman was excited to be recruited to play in a fundraising soccer tournament. She signed up, encouraged her friends to donate, and eventually put on her gloves to play in goal for Team Great Britain in Soccer in the Streets’ Nations Cup. Little did she know her teammate, Phil Hill, was her future director.
It was over a post-tournament dinner with the rest of the team, that Charman realized that Soccer in the Streets was the ideal fit for her. As Charman realized the struggles of the pay-to-play model in the US, she knew she wanted to make a difference. Almost immediately, she was coaching both school and community programs with the organization, sharing her passion for the beautiful game with kids across metro Atlanta.
The passion for soccer began as early as Charman can remember. Raised by a soccer mad family, there was no choice for her but to follow suit. She began playing recreational soccer at five years old, picking the one position where she knew she would never be subbed out - goalie. At fifteen she signed for her first academy team, playing for Watford Ladies. Eventually she would complete her dream move to Reading FC to play for the club she had supported her entire life.
It was that soccer landed Charman in Atlanta. At eighteen, she was recruited by Clayton State University where she would spend her entire collegiate career. Graduating in May 2018, Charman became the first Laker athlete in history to be awarded the Peach Belt Conferences’ “Scholar-Athlete of the Year.”
Undecided on her post-graduation endeavors, Charman’s job hunt peaked when she was offered a full-time position in the Community Events and Volunteer Management role with Soccer in the Streets.
“There was never a doubt in my mind that this was the job for me” Charman said. “As a coach, I had seen the incredible impact our programs had. Now I had a chance to increase our outreach and exposure across Atlanta. I couldn’t wait to share Soccer in the Streets motto with others.”
Charman currently manages a large pool of volunteers, including members from several groups of corporate volunteers from supporters such as Salesforce and IHG. Additionally, she manages player and captain recruitment for the same tournaments she once participated in.
Her main responsibilities include finding opportunities for people to serve in their community.
“I love giving people a chance to see what we do first hand. As soon as volunteers meet the kids and see the impact of our programs, they are hooked.” Charman said. “We are always looking for more people to join us. Without dedicated volunteers and fundraisers our life-changing programs wouldn’t be possible.”