Crystal Turpin is a woman of faith, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, athlete, role model, mentor as well as an entrepreneur.  The former general manager of the New York Sharks is enjoying retirement and looking forward to finding the next chapter in her life.

The most motivating word in the English language according to Crystal Turpin is when someone tells her she can’t do something! The first time this word motivated her to move mountains was when she was told she couldn’t graduate high school. She went to Saturday classes and did everything necessary to ensure she not only graduated but did so with good grades!

“It’s a wonderful feeling to have been a standout high school and collegiate athlete. When I was presented with the opportunity to become the General Manager of a full contact all-female football team (the New York Sharks), I was all in. This was huge because like the WNBA we were making history.” As a pioneer in women’s football, Turpin’s leadership skills helped guide her team to two National Championships. 

Turpin is best known for her twenty-year association with the New York Sharks.  “We formed the New York Sharks and in 2002 we won a National Championship. We invited women from all over the world to come try out. It was amazing to see that much of an interest all of these women really wanted to play.”

Turpin rose in the ranks from being a player to being General Manager to becoming Vice President of the New York Sharks. “We made young girls’ dreams come true.  We opened the door for them and that is a beautiful thing!”  She retired in 2018 when the team played their final season as the longest running and most wins in women’s football history. The New York Sharks hold the honor of having a signed football in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  The team was purchased and the name was changed to New York Wolves. 

Off the field, Turpin is a tireless giver and always looks to help others, no matter what their situation. She sees it as a ‘ripple effect’ when a positive action acts like a pebble dropped in a pond. “The ripple effect is when you make an impact on that one person, then that person can make an impact on somebody else and then so on.” She has always been involved with community service, especially when it comes to helping someone who was formerly incarcerated. 

“Everyone deserves a second chance. People make mistakes but not everyone who goes to prison is a bad person.  I feel that God put me here to give back, especially to women who are not letting their light shine. They’ve allowed their lights to be dimmed so that someone else can shine brighter than them.  As my dad used to say, let your light shine. You receive so many blessings when you give of yourself and share the blessings that God gave you.”

For Turpin, helping others is a way of life, not just something to do occasionally.  Her philosophy of life is to always ‘help your neighbor’ and ‘take care of each other.’  Her philosophy also includes the advice of studying to learn more and working hard at whatever you want to do. “You must be willing to listen and learn from those who are doing what you want to do on a grander level. I must lead by example and teach those who follow to stand for what is right.”

While Turpin is still not sure of her exact next chapter, she is sure it will involve helping people. “Knowing that I am changing lives is what inspires me.  I’m not sure what my next step will be but I am taking my time to figure things out. I’m retired and I moved to the south where I plan to enjoy every moment of life.  However, I feel selfish because I still have a lot to give. We all have something that we can offer this world. I want to encourage everyone to take care of your neighbor, you know, take care of one another.”

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Crystal Turpin