'That picture really changed my life': Georgia Soares

Georgia Soares is a Brazilian photographer who grew up in São Paulo but now calls Philadelphia home. She stopped by the Squad Depth podcast to talk about her journey.

'That picture really changed my life': Georgia Soares
Photographer Georgia Soares (centre) flanked by two of her fave personal photos | Courtesy of Georgia Soares
"I will never stop talking about the Christen Press picture, because that picture really changed my life, like photography-wise."

Georgia Soares is a Brazilian photographer who grew up in São Paulo but now calls Philadelphia home. She stopped by the Squad Depth podcast to talk about her journey to becoming a sports photographer as well discuss some of her favourite shots.

In 2020, Soares first pivoted into taking photos of live sport by capturing Philadelphia Union matches. Over the past four years, she's come a long way and is now one of the premier photographers covering the NWSL and women's soccer across the United States, in addition to covering many other professional, collegiate and youth sports.

In 2023, she made a name for herself by being one of The Athletic's photographers for the 2023 FIFA World Cup. While out there, she captured many memorable moments on a trip that she admits was "surreal".

Of the many breath-taking goals Soares witnessed out in Australia & New Zealand, one she keeps coming back to is Colombia's Leicy Santos' long-range screamer against England in Sydney. It is her personal favorite of the thousands that she took.

Soares was stationed on the other side of the pitch, at the end that England was attacking. When Santos broke the deadlock and put Colombia up 1-0, Soares was able to immortalize defender Daniela Arias celebrating her teammate's strike.

Daniela Arias celebrating for Colombia | Georgia Soares

"I captured her celebration of the goal. And I absolutely love it because he jumped in the air and I was able to catch that photo of her. Later on, Arias DM'd me thanking me. And she said it was her favorite picture of the tournament and all of that. So, that was very special," Soares beamed.

The photograph is palpable. Summarizing in a frame so much of what we love about football. The packed stands and Colombia colours behind the player. The yellow of the crowd connects with the yellow of the shorts.

Arias looks almost god-like. Floating. Suspended. Powerful. Ready to let it all out. Unable to contain herself and bursting with the joy of the moment.

Back in the Northeast of the United States, another photograph that Soares holds dear is of Christen Press scoring her first NWSL regular season goal for Angel City FC, at Audi Field, in 2022.

Emily Sonnett (left) can only watch on as Christen Press finds joy in bending the ball into the back of the net | Georgia Soares

"I will never stop talking about the Christian Press picture, because that picture really really changed my life, like photography-wise," said Soares. "I always say that I was in the right moment at the right time, for the goal. Because I was never able to get another goal like that ever again."

Soares' gift for composition comes out this photo, as all the components to frame a spectacular goal come together and interact. Striker, goalkeeper, defender, ball, post, net, pitch, fans, grass, sun, air, and magic. You name it, it's in the photo.

In particular, it is the juxtaposition of the expression on Press' own face with that of the defender, Emily Sonnett, and goalkeeper, Aubrey Kingsbury. The playful cheek to pull of such a technical strike, at the expense of the opposition, is conveyed beautifully. Soares captures it expertly.

"That picture is very special for me. I love the picture. Especially because it was her first coming back to the NWSL, and then after that, she got injured. That picture holds a really good place for me."

After Press' former team the Utah Royals folded in 2020, she joined Manchester United for the 2020/21 English Women's Super League. After 2021 NWSL expansion club Racing Louisville obtained Press' "playing rights" she spent time out of the league before 2022 expansion club Angel City acquired those rights.

The 35-year-old USA legend was the face of the league's hottest new team, in her home of Los Angeles, and was making her long-awaited return to the league for the first time since 2019.

On the 15th May, the third matchweek of the season, ACFC recorded their first away win in club history: A 1-0 win courtesy of that curling finish by Press. In June 2022, she tore her ACL.

Listen to the full interview with Georgia Soares here.
You can find more of Georgia's work and inquire about her availability at her website.