- Emily Marshall spoke to Insider about her life as a New England Patriots cheerleader.
- When she’s not cheerleading for the team, she works as a financial analyst.
- NFL cheerleaders reportedly earn an average of $22,500 a year, so they often have other jobs.
Emily Marshall is a cheerleader for the New England Patriots, but that isn’t her only gig.
When she’s not perfecting her game-day routines, she works as a financial analyst for TRC Companies, a consulting, engineering, and construction management firm.
While it’s common for NFL cheerleaders to have day jobs, it’s also a balancing act. Insider spoke to Marshall about how she got her start with the team and how she juggles training, games, and her 9-5.
Marshall focused on her career before trying out for the Patriots
Marshall, who is from Needham, Massachusetts, started dancing when she was 3. As a college student, she was a member of her school’s Division I dance team. In Marshall’s words, dancing is her “No. 1 favorite thing in the world.”
“We’re called cheerleaders, but pretty much everyone has a dance background,” she told Insider. “I love watching football, but my passion for dance is definitely what made me want to join the team. It’s just an extra bonus that I get to dance on the NFL field for my hometown team.”
Marshall graduated from Providence College in 2020, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, so she decided to take a couple of years off dancing before trying out for the Patriots in 2022. That allowed her to focus on her career before pursuing cheerleading on the side.
She has long been interested in environmental sustainability and, in college, she majored in business management and finance. She now puts the skills she learned towards the cause she cares about most.
“I started out as a project coordinator in [TRC’s] Boston office, and eventually one of the financial-analyst positions for the environmental sector became available, so now I am the analyst for three of our national practices,” she said.
Many NFL cheerleaders have day jobs
In 2022, NBC Sports reported that NFL cheerleaders get paid an average of $150 per game — about $22,500 a year — and between $50-75 per public appearance, although squads with higher profiles can earn up to $75,000 a year. Considering the part-time nature of the gig, it would be nearly impossible for many cheerleaders to support themselves on their cheerleading salaries alone. Therefore, it’s common for NFL cheerleaders to pursue other career paths while cheerleading.
Science Cheerleaders, an organization that aims to challenge stereotypes and empower women to pursue careers in sciences, has a roster of former cheerleaders who work in STEM. According to its website, NFL cheerleaders have worked in biotech, biomedical engineering, and as electrical engineers.
“Everyone’s like, ‘Wait, you do what?”‘ then-Indianapolis Colts cheerleader and bridge engineer Rose McClimans told Fox59 in 2019. “You can do multiple things. You don’t need to be locked into one specific ‘idea’ of who you are,” she added.
When it comes to the Patriots, “Pretty much everyone on the [cheerleading] team either has a full-time job or is a full-time student,” Marshall said.
The cheerleaders aren’t just paid for their performances during games, though.
“We’re paid for everything that we do related to our role,” Marshall told Insider. “Whether it be practice, or a team meeting, game day, a promotional appearance, we’re definitely compensated for everything that we do.”
Football season is busy for Marshall
After the team is announced in mid-April, Marshall explained, the cheerleaders have until the start of football season to practice. Practice occurs in the evening, after work hours, or on Saturday mornings.
“We practice two days a week throughout the summer and it’s basically just rapid-fire learning material, so that [during football season] we don’t have to spend too much time actually learning dances,” she said.
“The season really starts in mid-August or so with the pre-season games, and that is craziness,” she said.
She describes that period as “just so so busy all the time.”
“We pretty much have games every other week, throughout the beginning of September through the end of December, which maybe doesn’t sound very hectic, but it felt very hectic, because the second you’re done with one, you’re preparing for the next,” she said.
Despite the demanding schedule, performing is ‘the most incredible feeling’
“Most of the time we’re very focused and we’re thinking about our routines coming up,” she said. “But on the few moments of game day where you just get to relax and look at the crowd, at the 80,000 people in that stadium, knowing I’m just doing what I love at the age of 25 with 30 other people who share this passion with me, for my hometown team … It’s truly the most incredible feeling.
“It’s a lot of work, but it definitely pays off.”