Age: 25

Hometown: Marietta

Volunteer work: Stand Together Project (Portland OR) – Impacting Youth through the following areas of focus: Activity and Wellness – emphasis on soccer and inclusiveness; Education – emphasis on reading and STEM program; Environment – building local awareness and activism and Diversity – emphasis on celebrating countries represented by Portland Thorn athletes and supporters

Awards and Honors: 2016 National Women’s Soccer League first overall draft pick, 2017 National Women’s Soccer League Champion, 2018 Olympic Team Member, 2018 National Women’s Soccer League Best XI, 2019 World Cup Champion

Girl power comes in many forms, but Marietta can tout one special one in its hometown girl Emily Sonnett. The 25-year-old Portland Thorns FC defender and member of the 2019 World Cup Championship team grew up near the Marietta Square, where she often played sports and spent time with her family.

“I always enjoy coming back home. I think the Square is a big part of where I grew up and kind of that historic place, but not even realizing it. When I look back now, I think it is really cool that that is where I grew up, in that small town,” she said, with pride.

The Marietta native was raised with her twin sister Emma—who also played four years of soccer for UGA—in a multi-sport environment, where she played soccer, tennis, basketball, and track and field throughout the years. But soccer was the sport that stuck and the one she really enjoyed.

“Growing up in Marietta, the suburbs in Atlanta, it is big for sports,” she explained. “Being active and playing sports throughout school and sort of having cross-training experience and staying in shape in and out of season was good. I think the great part is that my parents kept us busy.”

Sonnett received a scholarship to play soccer for the University of Virginia and was later selected as the first overall pick by the Portland Thorns FC in the 2016 NWSL College Draft.

“My inspiration was trying to get to college, get a free education, and then it kind of put me on a launchpad for my professional career,” she said.

Sonnett joked that her days usually consist of a three-hour workout and then trying to figure out what she’s going to watch on Netflix, if she doesn’t have anything else scheduled for the day. She said she spends much of her time on the field and on the road.

Her team made international headlines as the 2019 World Cup Champions, after winning the women’s World Cup in France. Sonnett acknowledged the win was a huge accomplishment in her career.

“That’s probably the biggest thing to win,” she said. “It’s very cool that I got to be a part of something at a young age, and to win it was very special.”

When Sonnett is not crushing it on the field, she said she tries to take advantage of all the traveling she does for her job. She describes her and her friends as foodies who love to finding the best food.

“We travel finding the best grub, and kind of experiencing that, whether it’s Portugal, which has incredible Indian food, or going to Tennessee and getting the best barbeque sandwich. We don’t have a lot of time to do other things because we are on the road,” she said. Her family still lives in Marietta, so she considers it one of her homes.

She also enjoys giving back to her community. Sonnett takes part in the Stand Together Project in Portland, which is a week of participating in several different areas of community service.

“I have done a book drive, read to people in the hospital, gardening, and picked up trash in the area,” she said. “It’s basically a plethora of people in the community coming to our organization with what they need and that week we choose what speaks to us, and then go out in the community to do that.”

If you would like to celebrate these honorees, please join us for The Cobb Life List: 20 Under 40 Awards Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre. Tickets include the the fun awards program and a reception immediately following can be purchased by visiting cobblifemagazine.com/list

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