We’re always so inspired by the women who make up the #IDAWAVE.They’re multidimensional athletes with stories and passions that weave in and out of the world of soccer and beyond. 

Today we caught up with IDA Ambassador, Jamaican Women’s National Team player, and IDA Rise enthusiast, Chinyelu Asher! 

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10. Where did you grow up and how did you first get involved in the game? 

I grew up in Silver Spring, MD. I fell in love with football watching my older brother and my dad play in the backyard. I would run around outside with them and act like a defender while my brother would work on his 1v1 moves haha. Soon enough I wanted to start learning more seriously and began playing with a coed rec team, eventually moving up into travel club. 

9. Did you always want to play at the professional and international level?

Honestly I never knew I would! My parents immigrated to the US for their undergraduate years, both from places where women’s football, especially as a career, wasn’t too common or known of. This mostly explains why I sort of kept my head down, in sort of a naive way, yet worked hard and allowed my journey to unravel on its own. I wasn’t too aware of my options and didn’t have too many reference points, but I kept rising at each level. It was around when I got into the Jamaican National Team, where I experienced the international level playing against some of the top players in the world, that I began to see myself competing as a pro in the future.  

Chineylu Asher of the Jamaica Women's National Team wearing IDA Rise women's white soccer cleats.

8. What’s something most people would be surprised to know about being a pro soccer player?

I’d say how unpredictable it can be! Opportunities for a pro club can come in a flash. I’ve had friends who were given 24hr notice to get packed and head out to a new club opportunity. Pro life definitely teaches you to stay ready and on your toes haha. 

7. How did it feel to get your first international call up with the Jamaican National Team? What was your journey like to get to the international level? 

It was a big honor to receive my first senior team call up. (It still is btw). I felt a lot of pride for my family and even though I have mixed ethnicity, I learned how to play from my Dad and the Jamaicans in the DMV area…so getting a call up also felt a bit like coming home. 

I had a couple experiences representing Jamaica at the u20 stage while I was in college, but it’s definitely a whole different ball game at the senior level. A big theme of my journey has been quiet work and using whatever resources I have to stay sharp and in competitive form. My dad and I have so many stories from running in the snow, to using the push mower in the yard as sled sprints, to waking up at sunrise to use the footy fields before club teams….where there’s a will there’s a way! I think the other half of the journey for me has been a mental one, having confidence in yourself that you belong on this stage while also being humble enough to use it as opportunities to continue your growth as a player. 

6. You played at the 2019 Women’s World Cup! Was it a dream come true? What was the highlight or the most surprising/unusual part of that experience?

Chineylu Asher of the Jamaica Women's National Team wearing IDA Rise women's white soccer cleats.The 2019 WWC was definitely one of my most prized experiences in my career. It was Jamaica’s first World Cup for the women’s team, and the first World Cup birth for any women’s Caribbean country. So, amazing to say the very least!

The highlight for me was starting in the game against Italy, having my family in the stands to share the moment with, and seeing other fans in the stadium. Just a lot of pride, and the excitement of competing against some of the world’s best players. 

A cool surprise moment was after our opening match against Brasil, we lost the game but a little afterwards Marta came by our locker room without any ask or notice to say hi and congratulate us on a good game. We all had our starstruck moment and took photos haha. The international game will miss her, such a baller and even better human being.

5. How is the women’s game growing or changing in Jamaica? At any level. 

The women’s game is growing a lot in Jamaica. With the later years of success with the senior Reggae Girlz program and grassroots involvement from Cedella Marley/the Marley Family, you can notice more investment into youth development specifically with the girls side of the game. 

There was also a revamping of the domestic women’s league in Jamaica since the 2019 WWC as well, which is great as it gives more opportunities for players to compete, develop, and gain exposure. I think as a country the Reggae Girlz have garnered more respect and support, which has been super-deserved. Plenty of room to improve in all those areas but it’s good to see and appreciate the growth as it comes as well.

4. You’ve dealt with some injuries over the years. What were they and what did you learn from your recovery journey?

I’ve had a couple muscular injuries and my most recent one was a knee injury entering the 2023 year after my season in Sweden…almost all of them have been a result of poor load management and overuse. 

To me I think the biggest lesson from my injury journey has been learning to and giving yourself permission to rest. The body speaks for itself if you listen to it, and often when you are avoiding its warning is when injury/illness start to manifest. Last year I learned how rest really can be a superpower for performance! It’s not always grind and push through pain, and part of the journey of a pro athlete is learning the language of your body and what it needs. Everyone is unique and different in this regard. Take the time to learn more about yours <3

3.What is it like being a member of FIFPRO’s Global Player Council? What does that involve to someone who knows nothing about the council? 

It’s a super cool and empowering space to be a part of! I already love what the organization does and how it positions itself to be a point of change and advocacy for player experience and how the game is being run at large. Most of what I do involves sharing my perspective/opinions on projects or issues that are current and directly impact players on the professional club and/or international level.  

2. What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self about the game of soccer (or the game of life!)? 

Don’t be afraid to bet on yourself and always choose to believe in the reality where you succeed over the possibilities of failing. 

1. Had you ever considered that women might have different feet than men before learning about IDA? What are your go-to IDAs to wear?

I 100% did not! And that’s probably the main point that locked in my initial curiosity in trying out IDA footwear. My go-tos are the IDA Rise :)

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If you’re as inspired by Chinyelu as we are, give her a follow over on Instagram @chinyeluasher!