The Difficult Path of Female Soccer Players in India
The second group of players from Mumbai Rush in India have arrived at the Titan House in Colorado. Among them, Mayuri, the only girl of the group, is travelling for the first time in the United States and talks about the differences between soccer here and in Mumbai.
Rush Soccer : Can you introduce yourself ?
Mayuri : I am Mayuri, 17 years old, I live in Mumbai, India and I started to play soccer at the age of 15. I was first playing at Steidfast FC, and then at Mumbai Rush Soccer and my goal is to be a professional soccer player in India. (Pictured at right, Mayuri, in orange, trains with the Colorado Rush W-League team).
RS : How did you start playing soccer?
M : I used to play with the guys of my building. Then I heard of a soccer camp. It was on behalf of my school, so I went there and was selected in the club.
RS : What is the situation of the female soccer today in India ?
M : It is really difficult for Indian girls to play soccer today. People in India are not that open-minded about female soccer. There are still many clubs where girls can’t play and Mumbai Rush is one of the only one's to allow it. In India, in people's minds, girls are supposed to work in the house, and not to play outside. But today, people are now definitly changing their minds about girls, thanks to soccer. Most of the people still say that girls are not supposed to play, but it starts to change.
For example, I am the only girl in my school and in my whole area who's playing soccer. First of all, my dad wasn’t allowing me to play soccer. But then, he saw that I was improving, so he gave me the permission to play for a club.
RS : Is soccer developing for girls in India?
M : Yes, today I know around 15 and 20 others female players. There are more teams and more matches for girls. There is even a professional league for women in Mumbai : the MDFA (Mumbai Distric Football Association). There are many good clubs in this league and girls come from all over India to play in it.
RS : You have seen a W-League game, what did you think of the level, compare to India ?
M : The intensity is really high, and they play very well. I don’t think that indian girls will play like that. India is not as developed yet. But I hope we will reach this level soon!
RS : How do you perceive the Rush Way ?
M : Rush is a much more serious club compared to the other clubs in Mumbai, and especially for the female teams. Actually, I am playing with the U18 boys, because there is not a female team in Rush Mumbai yet.
Rush Soccer is also the first club to allow girls to travel for soccer so it is a big step for female soccer in India!
RS : Is it not too hard for you to play only with boys and to be the only girl travelling here ?
M : I actually have my mind only on soccer. I don’t care if I am alone or with a group of 20 people. I feel nervous and excited at the same time, but also a little bit home sick.