So a little update on practice that I spoke about in the last blog about being super nervous at. I had a little pep talk with myself at the train station on the way to practice (dont worry I managed to do it in a smooth enough way that it happened inside my head and I wasn’t some weirdo just chatting away to myself), because again, I was starting to feel nervous. And I told myself that I was proud of myself for having the courage to go so far out of my comfort zone. That there weren’t very many people that would put themselves in the position that I was putting myself into, so just to go out there and do the best that I could, and who cared if I made the odd mistake. I got to practice, and even now just knowing a few more people, I felt more comfortable and just relaxed and enjoyed myself and felt like I did the best I could, which at the end of the day should be all that any of us are focused on.
I ended up taking the train back into Oslo with a couple of English girls on the team who have also played in a few different places, and we just started talking about what life as a female player is like and just the struggle that seems to happen in every country, just to have the opportunity to play.
Not only finding a way to make enough money to survive first and foremost to be able to just play at an elite level, but then also having to deal with the lack of professionalism that often permeates women’s soccer from all sides. We exchanged stories of injuries and the struggle and drain of finances, just to take care of an injury properly, even when playing with “professional” clubs. We also touched on, as I have witnessed so clearly as a player myself, the power imbalance that exists where often players have to put up with things that they wouldn’t in the “real world” because they have worked so hard to get to an elite level. Coaches hold all the power because they know that they make the decision whether or not to choose a player, and if someone stands up for something they can just be dropped. Its not like a men’s player, who can just sulk off and make their 6 or 7 figure salary, as female players, we play purely for the passion and for the love of the game, because that’s all we are getting out of it from a tangible perspective and therefore, with such few options, we lose any power in most situations as most of us are just desperate to play.
I’m determined to change the landscape of women’s soccer, although in some ways you would hope that the passion, sacrifice and love of the game, that so many of us play with, would be held over, even if things did get better for women playing the beautiful game.
But I am happy to be in Oslo getting the opportunity to improve myself as a person and as a player, even if its hard and a little lonely sometimes.