Goalkeeper Tatiana Saunders joins Paradis Pros
We are very excited to announce Tatiana Saunders as our newest ambassador! Saunders is pro footballer and goalkeeper for Durham, where she plays in England’s FA Women's Championship League. She recently played for Lewes, where her goal (a 71-yard free kick against Liverpool) set a Guinness World Record for the longest goal scored in a competitive women’s football match.
Saunders was captain of her team at Rye High School and led her team to two New York State Class A Championship with 16 shutouts in her senior year. Her team finished the season 22–1–0, ranking eighth nationally in the ESPN RISE rankings. As a teen, she was selected for the England national women's under-15, under-17, under-19 teams. She kept a perfect 6–0–0 record across all appearances. Saunders appeared as goalkeeper for the England U19s during qualifying matches for the 2011 Women's U19 European Championships, where her teammates included Danielle Carter and Nikita Parris.
Saunders went on to Dartmouth College and was named 1st Team All-Ivy in 2012 and 2nd team All-Ivy in 2014. She was named to the NSCAA All-Region Second Team her sophomore and senior season. When she graduated from Dartmouth, Saunders had the opportunity to play professionally in the US or to work in finance on Wall Street. “Up until that point in my life,” she says, “Football had been everything – and the idea of going into finance was different and exciting. So, I took three years off from football and went to Wall Street.”
In 2017 Saunders found herself missing football and decided to give up her job and pursue her childhood dream of being a professional soccer player. She tried out for a pro team in Iceland, made the team, and took a leap of faith. She has played for teams in Iceland, France, and is now in net for Durham. She has completed an MBA while playing professional soccer, and says the discipline she learned through her career in athletics and on Wall Street serves her well both on and off the pitch. When asked about her future, she responds:
”I do not know if I will return to Wall Street. Ideally, I would like to combine the knowledge I gained from my MBA with knowledge of the most important issues affecting the world which my generation will need to address, such as climate change, the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the social divide, not only between north and south, but also within our own societies.
“Whenever I speak to younger players, I emphasize the importance of education. As a footballer, you can only play for a certain number of years and if you are unfortunate to have a serious injury, that time can be even shorter. You need to have other options, a Plan B. I approached Durham because it is a club that promotes academics along with sport and therefore enables its players to have other options after football.”
We are thrilled to have this multi-talented athlete on board. Welcome to the team, Tatiana!