Temryss talks about her career, identity and the game she loves
NEW YORK — Temryss Lane’s story is one that we all wish could happen to us. Not only has she come out of nowhere to a co-host on a national TV show, but she gets to talk soccer and share her passion for the game. It’s a dream scenario for many of us, and it’s a new reality for Lane.
Born into a Native American family just outside of Seattle, Lane is a lifelong soccer player who has enjoyed a playing career that has seen her travel the world. She’s gone from the Pacific Northwest, to Arizona State, to the professional ranks in Sweden, and finally to Los Angeles, where she has become a kind of cult figure among soccerati for her sassy role on Fox Soccer Channel’s Fox Football Fone-In, with Eric Wynalda and Nick Webster.
“It’s been amazing so far,” she told MLSsoccer.com recently in Los Angeles. “A friend of mine sent me the job posting and I wasn’t sure exactly what it was for. I came to the audition on a Monday, the call back was on Wednesday, I was hired on Friday, and I was on live national TV the following Monday. That was my first experience on television, let alone live TV.”
A common theme emerges when you talk to former soccer players in the United States who have gone on to soccer-related post-playing careers. They all share a desire to stay connected with the game, to give back and to see their passion manifest itself in a job that keeps them connected with the sport.
Some go into coaching, like Dominic Kinnear, Peter Vermes, and Jason Kreis. Others go into the media. Lane’s co-host Wynalda, a former US international and MLS star, parlayed his on-the-field success into a career in television. So have former US internationals like John Harkes, Alexi Lalas, Heather Mitts, and Julie Foudy.
“After working at a hip hop and R&B station in San Francisco I realized that that wasn’t for me,” Lane said. “It was time for me to go find out what I was still passionate about. I started playing again while I was in San Francisco and I realized I needed to have soccer in my life. It’s been my first love and my passion my whole life.”
Her new career path has seen both admirers and detractors. While she has received plenty of positive feedback and reinforcement, there have been critics, especially on Twitter and Facebook. Many of them lash out at her soccer knowledge without any knowledge of their own about her background.
“A lot of people had no idea that I had credibility as a soccer player and that I could talk about soccer,” she said. “I’ve had to grow a thick skin. I have played the game my whole life.”
But she admits she did not grow up a world-class soccer junkie. She played a lot, but she didn’t follow the EPL or Serie A or scour the message boards for the latest on some American kid playing in Germany.
“Keeping up on all the soccer games, keeping up with it online, reading about it is new to me,” she said. “It’s been a good learning curve for me. It’s happening fast, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a blessing to be able to have this opportunity.”
Of course, it’s hard to talk to Lane and not address the issue of her being a woman in a man’s world. The soccer media, both here and abroad, is famously a boys club of the highest order, and it has hindered her ability to gain credibility with American soccer fans. It’s a battle for respect.
“I have a great role model when it comes to women in business,” she said. “My mother is a remarkable businesswoman who has really developed a name for herself in commercial real estate. She has come across sexism, and I’ve seen her get frustrated. But this has never stopped her and there was never a question if this would stop her.”
So her headstrong interior is prepared to deal with the daily struggles for respect. But there is another aspect to Lane that can seem to get in the way: her looks. Dark-skinned with big, sharp eyes and long black hair, she has a smooth, casual beauty that is equal parts Native American and SoCal.
“Some of the criticism has been that I’m hot, but that I don’t know what I’m talking about,” she said. “That has started to change and people are recognizing that I do know what I’m talking about and that they want to know what I have to say. I’m not just something to look at. I’m a former player and I love the game.”
A few facts about Temryss Lane:
FAVORITE SOCCER MEMORABILIA: My Arizona State jersey. That was definitely a highlight. The USA select team stuff as well. That was a dream come true.
SOCIAL MEDIA: At first I didn’t have my own fanpage. I felt kind of vain creating one. But Landon Donovan told me “you’re a public figure now, embrace it.” So I did. Staying in touch with viewers and fans is important and I think Twitter (twitter.com/temryss) and Facebook are incredibly powerful mediums.
RELATIONSHIPS: I’m currently single. I’m open to being in a relationship. It just needs to be with the right person.
OTHER JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Yes, and I’m really excited about them. I worked on a national Chevrolet commercial, which ties into the modeling career. That has to do with soccer so I’m excited for that. I did an Adidas commercial with Heather O’Reilly. I’m on the back of Tropicana packaging, which is in stores now. I went to Vancouver for the launch of a bar called Red Card. Clothing companies are contacting me about opportunities. There is a lot going on which I’m excited about.
WORLD CUP PLANS: Nick has been trying to get me down to South Africa. There are talks of a show I could be hosting. I hope that I’ll be somewhere doing something for it. We’ll see.