Sports

Federal Way grad loves her dirty work with Seattle Storm

Danielle Yellam is a Federal Way High School grad who works for the Seattle Storm basketball team as the equipment manager. - Beth S. Elliott/The Mirror
Danielle Yellam is a Federal Way High School grad who works for the Seattle Storm basketball team as the equipment manager.
— image credit: Beth S. Elliott/The Mirror

The drive to Seattle is less than an hour, but Danielle Yellam's journey there has been exciting and unexpected.

A 2003 graduate of Federal Way High School, Yellam is a natural athlete. In high school, she played volleyball, basketball and tennis. She continued to play soccer and tennis while attending Green River Community College.

"I've been playing sports my entire life," Yellam said.

After transferring to the University of Washington, Yellam applied for a seasonal job with the Seattle Sonics' promo crew.

"We'd hand out programs and hang banners before the games," Yellam said.

After a year, she became "ball girl" for both the NBA Sonics and WNBA Storm teams. When the Storm became the only professional basketball team in Seattle, Yellam took over the equipment manager position.

Present for all practices and games, both at home and on the road, Yellam makes sure the players have everything they need, from cold water to clean uniforms.

After all the players have left, Yellam stays behind for clean-up and laundry.

She admits her job is less than glamorous.

"It's dirty work, but I love it," she said.

Normally a seasonal position, Yellam became a year-round employee when the team needed a new video coordinator — a job that keeps her busy in the off-season when the team is playing overseas.

"I just kind of fell into that position," she said.

Yellam reviews video of potential drafts for the coaches and edits game highlights.

The 24-year-old is constantly busy, sometimes working 12-hour days, but feels privileged.

"I work all the time, but when I wake up in the morning, I want to go back to work," Yellam said.

Yellam loves her job and intends to be with the team long-term, although she had no idea she would be doing this after earning a degree in sociology.

Not knowing what she wanted to do, Yellam chose sociology because it was something that interested her at the time.

No longer the case, Yellam intends to go back to school during the off-season. She enjoys her work with the Storm so much, she is considering a career as a strength and conditioning coach.

"Something sports or fitness related," she said.

Yellam may be working a dream job, but she hasn't forgotten about her humble beginnings in Federal Way.

"My parents live there. I go back quite a bit," she said.

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