What makes many thousands of people call Silver Spring home?
That’s what I Am Silver Spring is asking some of the city’s most interesting residents—authors, entertainers, athletes and all-around awesome people alike.
This week we profile DC United Women player Joanna Lohman, raised in the Colesville neighborhood and a graduate of Springbrook High. She’s played professional soccer in the United States, Spain and Japan.
Hometown? Silver Spring, MD.
What do you do? I do a lot of things—I’m a professional soccer player. I also am co-founder of JoLi Academy, an organization that raises women around the world using soccer as our vehicle. I also work as a trainer, training young women and women and men of all ages to help them be better soccer players and get fit. I also work in commercial real estate.
As a native Silver Springer, can you think of some of your favorite places that get overlooked? I love Brookside Gardens and Wheaton Regional Park. That whole area is beautiful. It has so many nice flowers and plants and lakes and they have all these really cool turtles in the lake and they have this huge snapping turtle. You can just walk around; it’s really, really beautiful.
Wheaton Regional park is next to it, so that also has several lakes and it has a really fun and interactive playground. For me, I’m like a big kid. They have this little choo-choo train you can ride and I swear I was the only one over 12 years old. It’s fun to ride it goes all throughout the park...I just have a lot of great memories from that area.
What makes Silver Spring unique? The diversity—all the people that live in Silver Spring. All the different cultures and the cultural sharing. I just recently went to downtown Silver Spring and there was an African festival and they had African food and dancing. Seeing people of all different races and ethnicities—it’s just great.
What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about women's issues, I’m passionate about LGBT advocacy and issues, I’m passionate about general human rights and I’m passionate about influencing and impacting the younger generation. For women especially, playing sports is just such a great avenue to really build confidence, self-esteem, learn how to compete, learn how to win and lose in a healthy manner. It really can build you up as an individual and make you strong and really prepared for your future.
Who is your favorite athlete? I think because of athleticism and the impact they’ve made on women in the United States, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova--their work on Title IX. My mother, she wasn’t really an athlete but she’s fitness-based, she encouraged me to play sports since I was a young girl. Any women that’s exercised from a young age is a role model for me and has helped to shape what Title IX has become.