The Power of Women in Sports

Women's professional sports have gained momentum and recognition in recent years, and Tampa Bay plays a prominent role in this positive movement. With the addition of the first women's pro soccer league and the University of South Florida adding women's lacrosse and beach volleyball in 2024-25, plus hosting the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship and Women's Final Four in the next two years, there is a lot to discuss. These events not only showcase the talent and dedication of female athletes but also provide a platform for women's sports to reach a broader audience. We will hear from female leaders leading the way in this historical paradigm shift during this invigorating conversation as they highlight the growth of women's sports, specifically sponsor investment, broadcast deals, and the importance of grassroots participation, access, and equity.

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Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Sofia Chepenik wasn't very familiar with the sport of lacrosse until sixth grade. After two years of learning to pass and catch, she eventually fell in love with the sport. Sofia always believed hard work beats talent and was given the opportunity to play on the inaugural class for Clemson her freshman year, where she was able to accomplish ACC player of the week, ACC freshman team, and ACC all-academic team. After her freshman year, she decided to transfer to the University of South Florida to play for the McCord’s and Brittney Orashen. They were monumental in the growth of women's lacrosse in Northeast Florida and were actually there the first time she picked up a stick. She has helped the game of lacrosse grow and experienced it firsthand. Now, she is more excited than ever to be a part of South Florida’s inaugural class and be a role model to the next generation of female athletes.