Angel City FC player Madison Hammond demonstrates leadership, compassion on and off the field

Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Angel City FC's Madison Hammond showing leadership on, off the field
Angel City FC's star player Madison Hammond is already making a name for herself in the soccer world. But she's also evolving off the field, leading the way for others.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When Angel City FC's Madison Hammond steps onto the field, she's a professional soccer player, a friend, a daughter and a leader.

The last of which she realized as a rookie, playing in Seattle in the summer of 2020. Through riots and reckoning, her team at the time went on a privilege walk, lined up as if to race, but first listening to 10 statements, taking a step forward for each that applies to them.

"One of the statements was, take a step forward if you were raised in a two-parent household. Take a step forward if you could've afforded to go to college without a scholarship," said Hammond.

Madison, who has always felt supported, comfortable, even privileged, took three steps. Among the fewest on her team.

"You realize, I had to do so much work to get to the exact same training session, to the exact same moment of playing professional soccer," said Hammond.

It was a career-defining moment that had both nothing and everything to do with the game itself.

The now 26-year-old defender is the first Native American player in the National Women's Soccer League.

Her mother raised her in New Mexico's San Felipe Pueblo, immersed in indigenous culture.

She's also Black, a part of her identity she's more deliberately grown into.

"That identity has been something I've reclaimed as I've continued growing and continued entering new spaces with a lot of impressive Black woman as well," said Hammond.

At Angel City, Madison finds examples on every level.

"As a player she has evolved in the short period of time we've been Angel City and as a person she's evolved," said Angela Hucles Mangano, the club's general manager.

Much of Angel City's incentive is built around community. For example, to commemorate Black History Month, the team hired SoCal native and illustrator Tyler Misha Barnett to design a limited collection, with 10% of proceeds going to a local nonprofit.

On the field, Black History Month is a collection of personal stories, of players like Madison leading the way for the future.

"I know what it's like to have that power to have a voice, so if I can give younger players or even older players feel like they have a space where they have a voice and also still play the sport that we all love and we're all here for, then I've done at least a little bit of my job," said Hammond.