Women We Love 2022: Haylie McCleney

Haylie McCleney

by Jade Hewitt/USA Softball

Professional softball player Haylie McCleney takes pride in inspiring the next group of female athletes. “I take my responsibility as a role model very seriously,” she tells GO, “and I want to leave the sport of softball in a better position than I found it.” McCleney is well on her way to accomplishing this goal, both on and off the field. The former All-American player from the University of Alabama and eight-time member of Team USA won silver in the 2020 Tokyo Games and currently plays in Athletes Unlimited Softball, a women’s professional league. Off-field, she is the founder of Halo Effect Tour and co- founder of LEAD softball, two youth softball organizations that teach young players about leadership and teamwork. The latter, especially, is important to her. “I want my legacy to be that I was an incredible player, but an even better teammate,” she says. “I believe that’s what separates good players from great players, the ability to uplift others around them to achieve bigger and better things.” In a sport “full of failure,” where even the most successful players maintain batting averages below .500, having confidence in oneself is paramount. “Each at bat, each moment in life is an opportunity to learn and to grow, and that’s how you have to see it,” McCleney says. “Setbacks are often set-ups for something bigger and better.” A worthy lesson to pass on to players of the next generation. –AB

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