Rebel Female Football Round kicks-off this Thursday night, with the Adelaide United Women taking on Canberra United at Coopers Stadium.
Football Federation Australia (FFA), the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League clubs, will celebrate the valuable contribution that Women and Girls play within football in Australia when Rebel Female Football Round is held from 22-25 November 2018.
We caught up with our international players Amber Brooks, Veronica Latsko, and Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir ahead of Thursday night’s game to discuss the round and to hear about their journeys as female football players.
Read the full transcript below:
What inspired you to play football?
Amber Brooks: Both my parents and my brothers inspired me to play football – both my parents played collegially. My mum was actually the first female in the US to play on a men’s college team. They’d just passed Title IX in the states, so were forced to let her play at her university. Then I had two older brothers who played and I just wanted to do everything that they did. So soccer was just in the family, and it was kind of just destined for me to play.
Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir: Just my parents, they got me into it. I actually didn’t know I liked it until they signed me up for my first practice, and then there was no turning back. They were my biggest supporters and took me to every training, so I’d say my parents.
Veronica Latsko: Probably both of my parents, my dad played in college. My mum didn’t play but she helped me so much along the entire way. Any challenges or difficulties, both of them were there, and they said, “hey, we’re with you no matter what you want to do with this, if you want to go all the way to professional we believe in you”.
What was the first club you played grassroots football at?
AB: The first club I ever played for was the New Hope Cobras, it was a boy’s under 10 team. I was eight and they’d actually never had a girl who wanted to play on the boys team before. They made up a rule where I had to be one of the top 11 players in order to play in the team. Some of the parents weren’t very happy I was taking their boys’ spots. I grew up playing for that team for about five years, even when I switched to a girl’s club I still played for them. A lot of those boys were my friends through school.
GJ: My first club and pretty much only club in Iceland was Stjarnan. I played with them for about 15 years of my career.
VL: I played at Century United, so I like to keep with the united theme here. I played with them since the age of 10 until I was 17 – right before I tore my ACL. It was nice that they weren’t the best club in my area. I went to that club, and I thought, “we want to be the best club, I want to help make this the best club and to be the most competitive in my area.” The other girls around me wanted to do the same, and eventually we made it one of the top clubs in the area. It was exciting.
What advice to you have for the junior female footballers out there?
AB: My advice is to always challenge yourself. For me that was playing with girls or boys that were older than me, and being in that environment where you’re being pushed but still having enough success to enjoy it. It’s about finding that balance where you’re being challenged but still really enjoying playing.
GJ: I think just to believe. Chase your dreams and go after what you want. Train hard, eat well, sleep well, listen to the coach, and just remember to enjoy it.
VL: My advice would be that no matter what your situation is, no matter if you’re the most technical, if you’re the fastest, or the best shooter, working hard is always the most important thing. It’s the foundation of the game. If you’re having an off game, if you can back that with working harder, the game is always in your control.
Why do you think Rebel Female Football Round is important?
AB: I think it’s important because girls and women are the future of sport and the world, honestly. It’s not so much about equality as it is that girls and women are great in their own. You look at the likes of Serena Williams and what she’s doing for the tennis landscape, and I think there’s room for girls and women to do that in every sport. I think we have just as much ability as men and boys, and should be given every opportunity, and to be able to seize those opportunities.
GJ: I think it’s just good to get awareness to the girls and to show them the possibilities that are out there.
VL: I think Rebel Female Football Round is important because it empowers people. it empowers girls and women who are in the game and who need that type of attention in order to get to the next level in sport. We have the potential to be just as good if not better than our male counterparts. I think things like this give us the opportunity to do that and to uplift girls and women who wouldn’t feel confident to otherwise do that. So, it’s incredible what this opportunity has for us, and we’re all for it.
Adelaide United host Canberra United in Round 4 of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 season on Thursday, 22 November at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT. Gates open at 6.00pm. Enter via Holden Street.