CHICAGO – Thirteen-year-old Ella Bard has been voted the winner of the 2021 SheBelieves Hero contest, U.S. Soccer announced Friday.
A passionate eco-warrior volunteering with community clean-up and recycling efforts in her hometown of Wadsworth, Ohio, Ella has shown tremendous work ethic, leadership and commitment to helping others.
Along with her environmental work, Ella also empowers others to use the power of their minds and the wisdom of their bodies through yoga and guided meditation. She will receive complimentary travel, tickets and an exclusive VIP experience to a future U.S. women’s national team match.
“Ella’s entry was not only motivating and inspiring, but also she is making a huge impact in her community on and off the field,” said former USWNT standout Lindsay Tarpley, a member of the SheBelieves Hero selection committee. “She’s involved in several projects and initiatives that have the potential to be life-changing events. Her vision, work ethic and commitment are admirable and inspiring. Congrats, Ella and continue to change the world! And congratulations to all the finalists who are making a difference in the lives of others. I have been fortunate to be part of this committee for several years and I am so proud to see the growth and impact that is being made across the country. Well done!”
In the four previous SheBelieves Hero contests, the winner was chosen before the annual SheBelieves Cup tournament so the winner could attend a match. This year, due to the global pandemic, the decision was made to extend the contest to provide the opportunity for more nominations and to award the winner a trip for two to a future USWNT match once health and safety protocols allow.
The SheBelieves Hero selection committee, comprised of former USWNT players Michelle Akers, Stephanie Cox, Tina Frimpong-Ellertson, Leslie Osborne and Tarpley, narrowed down the largest field of impressive submissions in SheBelieves Hero contest history to present fans with the five finalists. The other four finalists, who all embody the SheBelieves spirit and feature inspiring stories, were: Astha Bernard, Prabhleen Lamba, Anna Tuuri and Makayla Wilson . U.S. Soccer applauds all the finalists and all those who participated for the incredible work they’re doing to make a positive impact in their communities.
The finalists’ stories were shared via social media and the general public was asked to vote on who best embodied the SheBelieves spirit, which is defined as a leader in their community, a confident and passionate individual who empowers others around them and works to make a positive difference in the world. Public votes counted for 50 percent of the weighted total with the panelists’ scores accounting for the other 50 percent of the weighted total.
The SheBelieves movement was created to inspire and encourage girls and women of all ages to accomplish their goals and dreams, athletic or otherwise. The campaign was originally launched in the run-up to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup but has since evolved into a special bond between the team and its fans, taking its powerful message of empowerment and that of believing in yourself into communities across the nation.
The past winners of the SheBelieves Hero contest are: Semahj Ware (2020), McKenna Woodhead (2019), Hollis Belger (2018) and Danielle Bosland (2017).