Discover Football – One Game. Many Lives. One Voice.

Why, do you think, does an internationally acclaimed sport need a women’s association?

When we look towards a perspective, on the world front, that says, ‘development should be all-inclusive,’ it becomes clear that each and every element of the society should feel — included. It is not an exaggeration when we claim that women are at par with men in every field. It is the reality of the new world that no field in the world is untapped by women; Women have carved a niche in every sector, in every domain and everywhere.

Some parts of the world do not have favourable conditions for women to work freely even today; yet, women have been courageously surpassing all the boundaries, breaking barriers and coming forward, pioneering the undiscovered and rewriting history.

The sport of football is full of golden opportunities for overall development of everyone involved. Women have been a part of it from a long time. The ‘all-inclusive’ development takes place when the opportunities reach the underprivileged sections of the society as much as they are present in the higher sections.

Worldwide, numerous organisations are, collectively, making sure that there is scope for all — genders and sections — in sports. Discover Football is one such initiative. It is more than a concept or an organisation. It is a movement, an ocean of opportunities and better avenues. It is the perfect amalgamation of the recognition of a need gap, the fulfilment by a great solution and the grassroots connect that it dwells on.

It brings women across the world, who believe in the emancipatory idea of football, together. They are the professional players, the experts, the volunteers and women from the underprivileged areas all over the globe. They become a common voice for women’s football and women’s rights, equally.

Discover Football organises Tours and Campaigns, Conferences and Workshops, Football and Cultural Festivals to connect with women football players and experts across the world. There are publication materials for references and stories from around the world. They narrate the challenges faced by women, how they overcame the difficulties and succeeded. These tales inspire many others to come forward and work.

My Journey Towards Discovering More

(Here is the story of Slum Soccer’s football gem — Shrutika Amle. She will be representing India in the Discover Football Conference, 2017.)

Life changing experiences take your breath away. You are happy and scared at the same time. Imagine, what is more than representing your country on a world front? Isn’t that the best feeling in the world?

Well, the euphoria doesn’t come alone. It brings a fright with it.

You are excited but anxious, scared yet full of zeal. You are confident but worried.

I tried to cry out my fears, but it does not work that way. We win over situations only by passing through them, by experiencing them. Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid; Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.

I get goosebumps when I talk about Discover Football. You are the face of your nation. You are the reason for million smiles that will follow. You have a freedom, but you have a responsibility. You get wings, but you have to learn control. It is more than my first journey alone, it is more than visiting an international platform, it is much more than being the only person from your country to be a part of something so important. It is more and it is deeper.

I have been selected to attend the Discover Football Conference, 2017. I will be representing India in Berlin. My presence in the conference will act as an opportunity for many more dreams that depend on me. Every right step that I take will give good results for the lives in a remote corner of our country.

Discover Football is a platform for women across the world to come together for the development of women & woman’s football, and issues concerning women worldwide. I hope I am able to contribute something valuable and bring back a lot of learning.

I knew nothing beyond India. It was the world for me. When I got opportunities to play internationally, I realised there is a world outside that is built on a connection of people from various beliefs, backgrounds, geographic areas and cultures. My view widened and I started looking for more in life. My dreams starting taking shape, I realised what a courageous and determined soul can do.

Saying this, I know I still have my fears and insecurities. It doesn’t matter how far you throw them, they are bound to come back; The only change that happens is within us; We become stronger with every experience.

I grew up watching women working hard and earning a living that can suffice only the basic needs. They toiled hard to win their daily bread and would end up living a life compromising their aspirations. Determined to rise above it, my journey to self-discovery started when I completely fell in love with football. I have been playing various sports since childhood. Attempts have been made to keep me away from football as nobody wanted my education to suffer; But, being a rebel I won’t give up on something good.

Football has not only made me a better person, but it has also made people believe in me. They do not hesitate to send their children to our centre. I visit their areas, too. It gives a better connect to them and I can understand their problems well. It also helps me to help them solve their difficulties.

I chose an education where I can study and invest my time in football, too. I see myself working more towards the development of many more lives through football. It will be my contribution to humanity.

I was unaware that a bundle of abundant energy, if well-directed, can create wonders. People often tell me that they appreciate my clarity of thoughts. I feel proud of the fact that Slum Soccer has been the strength that shaped my personality, my thoughts and my life.

When I became a part of Slum Soccer, I realised there are places where you are not judged by your background, your level of education, the skin colour that you have; There are people who see the human side of you, believe in your capability and help you grow. Slum Soccer is my second family, it feels like home. If it didn’t exist, many souls like me would not be independently facing the world and living their dreams.

I believe that one should never look back. We should always keep moving forward and also help others to grow. There is always a lot to discover and fortune favours the brave. I have learnt that with vision, little girls become strong women.

My dreams don’t stop here. I will keep discovering more, learning more and contributing more towards development. The meaning of life is to find our gift; The purpose of life is to give it away. I hope that I keep learning, keep growing and become a reason for many others to believe in the beauty of dreams.

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