This is just a little something I would like to share with all the readers and mainly for the people that are interested in women's soccer. I am a defender for the South African Womens National team and I have 82 caps to my name. Although it might not sound like much but
it means alot to me. Here is a little story I would like for you all to read.
For the very first time in my life I can actually say that I am finally an Olympian. When I first started playing soccer I never really knew the concept of what it takes to be a professional soccer player, all I knew is the fact that I loved the sport and nothing more.
The time I got selected to represent my country in the Senior Women's National Football team in 2005, I thought this is it. This is my chance to prove to my family, my friends and my country what I am capable of.
Ever since then it has been quite a tough journey for me up until this day. Women's football in South Africa has never been so successful like all the other European countries out there that have professional leagues and different players from all over the world, playing in the leagues. Getting paid to play soccer is also another story in South Africa. With no professional league, the players dont get paid for playing the game, so with part time jobs or no jobs at all, the players play only because they have so much passion and love for the game.
It has always been a dream for me and the women's team to participate in big events such as the Womens World Cup or the Olympics. Year after year we tried so hard to qualify for this but so many times we have failed to do so. With no development in women's football in South Africa and such little experience, it was hard for the players to step up and compete against all the other African countries that have played in the World Cup and Olympics such as Nigeria.
In the year 2010 some miracle happened to South African Women's football. A new sponsor called Sasol decided to back Womens Football and with them on board the team had more opportunities to travel the world and gain experience by playing all the high profiled teams. By playing all of these teams, a few of our players were scouted from various clubs in Europe to sign contracts. That alone was something huge to us. We were all so happy for them.
After losing out on qualifying for the Womens World Cup in 2011 we had a second chance to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics. We were prepared well and way more experienced than ever before and managed to qualify for the Olympics.
We have QUALIFIED....We going to the OLYMPICS the team celebrated by jumping up and down with tears of Joy in each one of our eyes. Finally we have done it! OUR dreams have come true. It took alot of hard work, dedication, discipline and desire to reach our goal. A dream no one
thought we would ever achieve. We stunned the country. Everyone was talking about Banyana Banyana (Womens soccer team). Wherever you looked in the newspapers it was all about how we qualified.
Being part of the team that made History in South African Women's Football. The first team to qualify for the Olympics. This meant the whole world to me. I am proud of myself and all my teammates that have worked so hard for this.
Today im sitting in London preparing myself and my mind to participate in the biggest sporting event in the World. Whatever happens, win or lose, I will walk with my head held high and say I have lived my dream and I have done my best. I have been waiting for this my whole life and finally I am able to call myself an Olympian. Something many other sports athletes around the world still dream about. I am so proud of where I am today and what I have accomplished till now, its been a tough journey and all that I can say is IVE MADE IT.
I know my family and friends back home is just as proud and without their love and support they have given throughout my career, I wouldn't have made it this far.
With all that I would like to thank Women's Soccer United for giving me this opportunity to blog about all my experiences. It's amazing to know that there are people out there that care about Women's Football around the world.
© Janine Van Wyk / WomensSoccerUnited.com
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