Kylie Kelce oozes confidence. It’s apparent within seconds of meeting her—a magnetic charisma that draws you in and makes you want to stop for a little while just to soak it all up. When Kylie talks, there’s a quiet ease—the kind that is usually reserved for deep talks with close friends.
At 31, Kylie is successfully navigating motherhood, marriage, and the bright spotlight that comes from being the wife of an NFL rockstar center, Jason Kelce. She’s not just surviving it all— she’s absolutely thriving. And, Kylie says, she owes a lot of that deep sense of confidence in herself, and her strength in motherhood, to the sports she played growing up.
In college, Kylie played Division III field hockey at Cabrini University, and continues to stay involved by coaching the sport at her former high school. For ten seasons now, Kylie has been giving back to the same field hockey program that taught her so much.
"I have absolutely loved it. I can't step away," she says. "I haven't had a fall without field hockey since I was in seventh grade."
So, when the coach and mom of three young daughters found out that 45 percent of girls quit sports by the age of 14 due to body dissatisfaction, and that Dove had started a Body Confidence Sport program to address that issue by supporting in-person body confidence coaching to help girls thrive in their sport, she was all in. This was a cause that hit home.
She is careful and intentional about the conversations she has with her daughters.
With three little girls running around at home—Wyatt, 4, Bennett, almost 3, and Elliotte, almost 2—Kylie is acutely aware that she has a constant audience soaking up everything she says and does.
"I really make it a point to be careful and strategic about the way that I speak about my own body in front of them," she says. "I'm also very careful about how I encourage them to speak about their own bodies."
For example, Wyatt has been busy learning about bodies and body parts, and ever the coach, Kylie has been strategic about her answers. When Wyatt was putting on a new pair of pants, she noticed the tag size didn't align with her age, and asked her mom about it.
"She was like, 'These are not my size. These say five, I am not five.' And I was like, 'Well, you're tall like mom. Isn't that cool?'"
"'Yes, cool. I'm tall like mom,'" Kylie says her daughter responded. "We're just sort of making sure that when we talk about our bodies, that it's a positive twist, and is in a positive light."
Conversations about strength follow a similar pattern. Words like "strong" only have positive, affirmative connotations in their house. When Kylie uses it with her girls, she's usually saying something along the lines of: "'Yeah, you are! You're strong!'"
She knows how important it can be to see role models in sports.
Which could be why she continues to coach after all these years.
"These young women are looking up to you in a space that that that you have found joy in," Kylie explains.
She's also aware that she's in a unique position, as a coach, to be able to have those hard conversations and keep lifting them up.
"I feel like sometimes young girls listen to their coaches a little more than they listen to their moms," Kylie says with a smile. "We gotta squeak in there where we can, you know?"
Of course, the conversation about quitting a sport is one she's had to navigate many times with her own players.
"I always try to make it clear that whether they stay or they decide to step away for a short period of time, that they will always always always be part of our team, part of our family," Kylie says. "I always want to make them feel supported."
So, she asks them: What can I do to help and support you? Kylie keeps the lines of communication open.
She's a firm believer that sports teach you skills that can carry through life.
The list of practical applications is long, but Kylie runs through the big ones: Being able to work on a team. Moving towards a common goal. An awareness and appreciation for how other people move in your space. Working off of other people in an efficient way.
"All of those things I emphasize to the girls that I coach now, and with [my] three girls in the house," she says, adding, "You kind of have to treat them like a team, too."
And Kylie practices what she preaches, too, using the skills she picked up during her days on the field to be the best, strongest mom and woman she can be. Kylie pinpoints an exact moment where that training came into play: Using her own coaching mantras during childbirth.
"When we have like 15 minutes left in the game, I'll ask [the girls], 'How much longer does it hurt?' and they'll say, 'Fifteen more minutes.' And in in labor, I literally did exactly that. I watched the clock for 15 minutes. If I got through, I was like, 'Okay, I can make 15 more minutes.'"
So, it makes sense that motherhood is the thing making Kylie feel strong these days.
"The fact that I built humans and then push them out of my body was pretty strong," she explains.
And while her daughters are still too young to be signing up for intense sports, Kylie says they're slowly starting to dabble in gymnastics and soccer. The girls have definitely expressed interest in getting involved in sports at some point, and she's just holding out hope that one of them might follow in her steps and pick up a field hockey stick.
"It's not completely necessary, but I'm hoping," she says.
You Might Also Like