The SOAS Women’s Football Team are amazing and I get to be a part of it

By Carmel Mould, History & World Philosophies BA

How could a beginner like me go from never playing football, to being a part of the undefeated SOAS Women’s Football Club (WFC) this season? One word: opportunity.

As a child, I loved the game and sometimes scraped in with the boys during break times –  what female footballer’s story is different? By the time I tried to train in my primary school football club, with coaches who excluded all their care and attention from girls, I was done with being left out. I quit, and have looked back in regret knowing that I wasn’t confident enough at 10-years-old to stay fast in an exclusive environment.

14 years later, I find myself enrolling for university and thinking about signing up for societies. I laugh at myself as I consider joining the women’s football taster session. Who, me? Someone who can’t run to save her life and has zero skills? 

But I thought, if not now, when? I’ve never been gifted the chance to play football, even for a couple of hours. How could I miss this opportunity? So I went and, well, the rest is history.

When you walk into one of our football training sessions, you will meet an assortment of tough young women, with smiles on their faces and fires in their bellies. You wouldn’t be able to tell at a glance that these people are highly skilled, but it doesn’t take long to watch in awe at many of our players who have played since they were young for various teams, and played well.

If you mention that you attend SOAS to a random British university student, most won’t know what you’re talking about. But trust me, in the women’s football world of universities in London, we’re known.

I was shocked when I found out that our team won with players down in our first couple of matches, until we kept winning game after game, with an increasing goal difference each time. This is when I realised that not only are individual players in our squad talented, but our team is actually good!

There have been so many great experiences throughout the year: The peaceful rhythm of two-hour training sessions on Wednesdays and matches on Sundays. Grabbing drinks and/or food with the girls after a game or for socials. Catching professional football matches. Some of the squad got to play in a tournament in Paris,  and I repost the game results on my Instagram stories so all my friends know I am a part of this winning squad.

Maybe it’s a different experience as a younger person or someone who’s played a lot of football before. For someone like me who couldn’t have that in my circumstances growing up, who has been in the work industry for the past several years full-time, and knowing the financial investment needed to join a team outside of university – this opportunity to engage in the game is a big blessing.

Sometimes all we need is an opportunity, and with passion and hard work, we can take it and run with it. But SOAS WFC showed me that equally key, are a good bunch of friends to play with.

Sometimes all we need is an opportunity, and with passion and hard work, we can take it and run with it. But this team showed me that a good bunch of friends to play with are equally key. They are the ones who made this season so memorable.

Now you may be thinking that if our team can still win with a player like me who is a complete beginner, surely the league can’t be that great? But no, my teammates are definitely doing a hard carry on this one, and how do you know how talented I might be?

Jokes aside, Women’s football is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports, and the dedication and quality of the game will continue to improve over the years. I’m just glad to be a part of it and to represent SOAS in the process.

The fact that this WFC exists symbolises much more than only having fun playing football. It provides opportunities for access into a much-beloved game that many girls are robbed from experiencing. It’s a chance to get involved, to find connection with others who agree this fun should not be solely dominated by the males of the population, and to say we very well deserve a place to shine.

This is why I have to give mad props to the people who make this happen, our club president, June Derz, and club captain, Eva Van Der Vliet. Their dedication, consistency and sense of humour have made this WFC the best to be in. Our training sessions are also made fun and challenging thanks to our coaches from Bloomsbury Football Academy. 

We have one match left of this season and we’re fighting for the league title. Come Support us, check out our social media for information on the match.

Photo Caption: SOAS won 7-1 against UCL in February 2022 (credit: June Derz)

Post Author: SOAS Spirit

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