As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. That can be applied to a variety of situations, but one that we’ve seen play out over the years is between a player and a team. Sometimes, both parties are great individually but don’t have the right chemistry or timing. For Domi Richardson, she had to move past some mismatches on the dance floor to find her perfect partner: Sky Blue FC.
Before she landed with Sky Blue FC back in 2016, Domi Richardson’s professional career was off to a rocky start. She was signed by the Houston Dash after an open tryout but was cut after two matches. Then, the next season saw her sign with FC Kansas City before being waived again. “Those two years were really tough physically, mentally, and emotionally,” Domi explained. “I worked my whole life to be at the point where I believed I was good enough to play for a professional team and then essentially watched my dream crumble around me two years in a row.”
“It was extremely tough. I am a firm believer that every experience you have, positive or negative, is a learning experience and builds your character. All of which led me to where I am today…still playing 7 years after starting this wild journey. During my first year at Sky Blue, I sprained my ankle on day one of preseason and had some other trials to go through and I remember jokingly telling a teammate at one point that ‘I actually really like who I am so think I’m done with building my character’.”
But, that character building has led to Domi finding her long-term home with Sky Blue FC. She said, “While being at Sky Blue I’ve had some injuries and things that continue to refine me as a person, but finding a home with this club and all the people here has been an answered prayer and a literal dream come true. I have developed so much as a player and a person since 2014. I truly believe I wouldn’t be who I am today without the humbling experiences that got me here and my family and friends supporting me.”
Richardson has proven to be a trusted member of the Sky Blue roster over the years and played in five matches of the NWSL Challenge Cup and has started all three Fall Series matches thus far. “I’m so excited to get an extra few games in this season! Obviously, this year hasn’t been what we have expected but we have done our best to roll with the punches of 2020,” Richardson said. “The Challenge Cup was a good test for us and I’m excited to head into this last weekend of the Fall Series!”
Sky Blue FC will close out their Fall Series slate with a home match vs. the Chicago Red Stars with kickoff set for 12:30 PM ET, live on CBS All-Access.
Outside of soccer, Domi’s favorite thing to do is dance. “Oh my gosh, yes! I love to dance,” she said. “I don’t really have a favorite dance or a favorite dancer, but I just love to dance to whatever music is on! I will literally try to dance to whatever song is on, but you can never go wrong with Queen B!”
“Two of the best dancers of all time are my sister and me in the living room and then all the dancers of Millennium Dance Complex in LA!”
But, the question is, who are the best dancers outside of herself on the Sky Blue FC roster? “The best dancer really just depends on your style,” she answered. “Kailen (Sheridan) and (Nicole) Baxter can be very entertaining to watch. But if we’re talking skill, I know Midge (Purce) is looking for a hip hop class in New York; so if any are out there…hit us up PLEASE!”
One topic that Domi definitely doesn’t dance around is being a Black woman in a country that still struggles with racial inequality and police brutality. “As a black player in this league, it has been encouraging to see the amount of support we have been given. However, this is only the beginning,” she said. “As we took the field on October 3rd, that was the first time in my life that the amount of black girls outnumbered others on our team in the starting line up. That is exactly why representation in sport is so important!”
“For young girls who look like me, or Mandy Freeman, or Imani Dorsey, or Ify Onumonu, it’s important that we see people who look like us playing this sport at this level.”
She continued, “I think now more than ever it’s crucial that people come alongside the black men and women around them. It’s time that we listen to understand and look internally to see what biases are possibly hiding beneath the surface. It’s time to examine ourselves and the fabric of the country and bring about real change for Black people and other minorities that are often left behind.
“If you take it upon yourself to be educated and seek out people who have experiences with systematic racism, or racism of any kind, you would be hard-pressed to not find compassion within you. I think that if we all let compassion move us, things would start to look a little different and people would begin to act in a way that will bring about real, lasting change. Black bodies were exploited to build this country, and now we must protect them.”
Earlier this week, Sky Blue FC announced that they will be playing for The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ) in the Verizon Community Shield, whose message falls directly in line with the powerful words above of Domi Richardson in the fight against systematic racism in this country.