Youth Athletes United is on a mission to reach a million children every year through its various sporting programs. Sports can be a great way to teach children about life in a safe environment, and how to react to winning and losing. It can also teach teamwork and develop an appreciation for the importance of physical health.
That’s why the brand has brought in teenage tennis star, Leylah Fernandez. Fernandez is a highly successful young athlete, having reached the finals of the U.S. Open at the age of 19, and has a WTA Tour title to her name.
Fernandez will be involved with the brand through social media, digital platforms, personal appearances and local franchisee activation. Her involvement has also led to Youth Athletes United laying plans to introduce tennis to communities that have not been exposed to the sport.
We sat down and spoke to Leylah about her new ambassadorship, what she hopes to accomplish and whether she has caught the business bug herself.
RP: What do you hope to achieve as Youth Athletes United brand ambassador?
LF: I always had a dream to help the younger generation find their love for sports. I want to give kids that same feeling I had the first time I kicked a soccer ball, swung a baseball bat, or picked up my tennis racket. It was a beautiful moment for me and one I will always remember.
Youth Athletes United has a goal of reaching a million kids annually through their programs with Soccer Stars, Amazing Athletes, TGA Premier Sports, and JumpBunch. I want to be able to help them achieve that goal, especially in underserved areas that do not have as much opportunity to play different sports like tennis.
RP: How can sports prepare children for life as adults in the workplace?
LF: There are a lot of lessons that can be taken from sports and used in the workplace. Teamwork, dedication, time management, focus, and many others.
My father taught me when I first got into sports that pressure and stress will be my best friend. That really stuck with me and shaped my approach to how I deal with a hard or challenging situation. I embrace it instead of letting it negatively affect me.
I learned that on the field and on the court and it is a life lesson that I can take with me beyond sports.
RP: What stood out to you about Youth Athletes United as a brand you wanted to align yourself with?
LF: When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to play several different sports. My father was a professional soccer player, but he encouraged me to try other things like baseball, track and field, basketball, and that is how I found tennis.
Youth Athletes United brands give kids the opportunity to try a variety of sports just like I had. They really take pride in the fact that they are the first sports experience for many kids and that it is not just an opportunity, but a responsibility to give them a great experience and teach the fun in fundamentals.
RP: Do you think you’ll ever become interested in franchising any of the concepts you now represent?
LF: I continue to learn more and more about business each day. When I look at players like Serena and Venus Williams, Naomi Osaka, and others, I see what they are able to accomplish with their platform.
They follow their passions and show success in business and tennis. This is something I definitely want to follow and will continue to look for opportunities that I feel strongly about. Franchising is a new area of business growth for me and I am excited to learn about how I can get more involved in this area.
RP: What do you think some of the leading fitness trends will be in 2022, which fitness franchisors like Youth Athletes United would do well to stay abreast of?
LF: I think it is really just about giving kids access and options, and meeting them where they are. I am also working with Lululemon as a brand ambassador and in watching the fitness growth trends, the Mirror fitness platform is leading the trend of providing high-quality fitness and content at home.
I would like to see the physical aspects and interaction of coaching, like with Youth Athletes United franchise programs, combined with digital platforms. If we do this, we will have a better chance of connecting with kids’ fitness because we are utilizing the platforms that they are growing up on today.
RP: Do you have much personal experience in the world of entrepreneurialism?
LF: I feel like I am learning more every day. Like I said before, I look towards some of the players who have successfully built their platforms and are involved in businesses they have a strong connection to. I hope to continue learning and getting more involved in the future.