CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — N.C. Courage midfielder Brianna Pinto is typically on the other side of coaching, but today, she's the one running drills.

What You Need To Know

  •  Pinto and Williamson both played sports at UNC

  •  The clinic promoted diversity in pay-to-play sports

  •  Over 100 young girls of color participated in the clinic

“I think it’s so fun to learn different sports,” Pinto said. “I’ve never played field hockey, so I’ve gotten to learn from all these girls out here having fun.”

Even though she’s more familiar with a soccer ball, it hasn’t stopped Pinto from cheering on these young athletes.

It’s all part of a soccer and field hockey clinic for diverse youth hosted by the Pinto Futbol Foundation and Beyond our Game.

These are two sports that Pinto says aren’t always accessible.

“Both of them are pay-to-play models, which makes it really cost prohibitive for a lot of families,” Pinto said. “We put on a free event so that we can make sure they have a chance to get interested. We will even provide some scholarships so that they can continue playing.”

Pinto, who experienced a successful career at UNC, says it’s important for these young athletes to see people from similar backgrounds.

“That’s a picture of me after I scored one of my goals, and there’s Courtnie as well,” Pinto said pointing to the video board above. “We hope to serve as role models and be that element of representation for all these girls out here.”

Courtnie Williamson, a former UNC field hockey athlete and the founder of Beyond Our Game, made her own history at UNC. 

Williamson was the first Black captain in the field hockey program’s history, and hopes she can serve as an inspiration for the next generation.

“When you see someone that looks like you, it makes you want to get out there,” Williamson said. “It makes you feel like you are important and valued, and do anything they’re doing.”

By hosting this clinic, Williamson says they are building a community. 

“They’re included, they’re welcomed, they can do anything they want to do,” Williamson said. “To welcome them on a campus like this, a facility like this, is just incredible. Maybe it will inspire people to want to play in college.”

For any young athletes that are hesitant to try a new sport, Pinto shares one message. 

“Have fun, work hard and as long as you stick with it and you’re determined and willing to sacrifice for your dream, anything is possible,” Pinto said.