Johnathan & Amber
First Team in Travel and Transition
Amber and Johnathan had a casual conversation as co-workers about the transition from professional sports into the life after. That conversation sparked so many ideas and revealed a shared love of travel and the expat lifestyle. Now, husband and wife, Amber and Johnathan left the comforts of the United States and ventured together into the world.
Amber's system creation skills and Johnathan's international experience complimented each other superbly in navigating the many nuances of world travel and setting the proper "Expat-ations". Amber visited her father's home of Antigua and Barbuda many times throughout her life and easily sold Johnathan on the prospect of immigrating to the dual island nation.
In 2017, Beyond the Field was founded. The ACE7 program is tailored to meet the needs of the many talented players by assisting them to identify their strengths and to find their true identity outside of sports.
Analyze your status
Connect to resources
Expand your career
7 steps in the program
Amber C. Edwards
A Life of Service
In 2007, I began my sports journey working at the University of Oklahoma Athletics Ticket Office. Since then, I have worked with the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons, individual professional athletes, and most recently with the NFLPA's Former Player Services Department.
In my first week at the NFLPA, a retired player contacted the office seeking career advice. Our conversation revealed the fact that many players are unaware of the many personal and professional development programs sponsored by the NFL, NFLPA, and other professional football organizations and affiliates. My personal mission became clear and I worked diligently to create an aggregate of the benefits and services available to active and former players.
My career in the sports and entertainment industry revealed the paradox of the public glitz and glam juxtaposed to the private hard times and harsh realities that the majority of players and their families experience in the transition to life after sports.
You can choose to invest in yourself, and when you double down on you and live in your truth, the doors will open up for you.
Why I Focus on Sports Transition
I transferred into the University of Oklahoma with the class of 2010 and graduated in 2011. Three of the top four NFL Draftees from OU all received record-breaking rookie contracts that year. I remember the excitement, the shock, and the awe that surrounded that historic NFL Draft. Soon thereafter, the 2011 NFL Lockout shaped many athletes' futures for better or worse.
My OU friends slated to be drafted became Free Agents. Others never signed contracts. It was an undeniably devastating course of events. The focus, hard work, and determination required to become a professional athlete all faded away due to a labor dispute.
ESPN's 30 for 30: Broke, aired shortly after the start of the 2012 season. The documentary truly impacted my career path as I knew many of my friends could follow the same path. Through my relationships with the players and my work in sports, I was able to have profound conversations with the guys that outlined their objectives for the futures.
The conversations that began at OU developed further as I interacted with more former players through the NFLPA: I learned that it is never too early to prepare for life after sports; It is never too late to prepare for life as a retired player; and there is no one-size-fits-all plan to sports transition. I discovered my passion, talent, and truth in college. My life's work is to help professional athletes discover their passion, truth, and talents into the next chapter lives.
S. Johnathan Reese
A Lifetime of Transition
I am a St. Louis, MO native, Columbia University in the City of New York graduate, CU Athletics Hall of Fame Member, and former NFL player (2002-2005), with the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In 2007, two years after retiring from the NFL, I set off as an independent military contractor to support US Government missions in various active and post-conflict zones including East and West Africa, the Middle East, and Afghanistan.
I gained valuable experience in the decade I spent abroad. I devised operations and logistics strategies with great teams in numerous austere environments. Executive Protection and Movement Control for the safe passage of US Government Officials, US government contractors, and foreign military officers became my passion.
In 2015, I joined the NFL Players Association as the Security and Operations manager where I reconnected with football and gained valuable experience and insight in to the business of football. I cherished the opportunity to execute security operations for NFL Hall of Famers, the NFLPA Executive Director, and the NFLPA staff.
Why I Focus on Sports Transition
I reflected on my own transition from professional sports after my conversation with Amber C. Edwards at the NFLPA. Like many athletes, I spent my entire life chasing my dreams. I attained those dreams and then had no clue who I was beyond the field.
Of course I knew that football wouldn't last forever and I prepared for a career after sports. I held internships while in college with large banks, and while in the NFL, I took advantage of the NFL's partnerships with the major banking firms in New York City.
What I couldn't prepare for was the fact that once I became a former player, the thrill was gone, not only for me as a star, but for the many people that had previously fawned and courted me, once desperately willing to help with any and everything while I was on an active roster. Guidance - before, during, and after: what's that?
Despite my preparation, I had to adjust, and as a running back, adaptability was my forte. However, I quickly found myself seeking a career in a much larger pool of candidates than the NFL. Despite becoming an elite athlete and Ivy League graduate, I still had to distinguish myself more than I had imagined - more transition.
The blow to my ego and the paradigm shift was truly something to behold. Once the man of the hour, I now had to network like never before and strategize for a minute of a hiring managers time to hopefully begin a career in a field that I wasn't sure I had a passion. It was indeed a difficult, humbling experience as are all transitions.
Through Amber's knowledge and my personal experience, we aim to ease the transitions of future former players. There are more resources than ever before. Please know that the community is established, welcoming, and waiting to assist players find their genius.