Brazil International women’s footballer Mayara Bordin expresses what it means to be a part of the Brazilian National Team and her journey to compete at the highest level alongside some of the biggest names in the women’s game including Marta, Rosana and Formiga.
I started playing soccer at a very young age and I always dreamed that one day I would be able to play for a National Team. I have prayed many times asking God to give me one chance to prove myself. I prayed that he would give me the determination and strength I needed to continue practicing every day.
I had always seen great players such as Marta and Formiga playing and wanted to be them, and I thought it was unattainable for me to get to their level, but I was willing to put in the work to become one of them. Well, anyone who knows me, knows that for me practice is like a game, and a game is like a war. I do not play to lose. I am so competitive that I hate losing even at simple games such as “heads or tails”. My mind is my best ally and also my worst enemy. I love practicing and I go crazy when I am unable to. Of course, I love a good practice, and I hate running without the ball, but I know it is necessary sometimes. Practice is the only way you will get better and get closer to achieve your goals. You have to be your harshest critic and your strongest motivator. You must know yourself better than anyone else, know your strengths and your defects. Try to be unique, or at least very different in your strengths, and work on your defects as well. I promise you if you work hard, it does not matter how difficult things may seem, if you do it repeatedly, you will get better! Work on yourself not just as a player, but as a person.
One of the most important people in my career who helped me to be a good player, was not just a coach, he was also an educator. His name is Thomas Chestnutt, and he is a currently coach for FIU women’s soccer team. In Brazil, unfortunately when we are young we don’t have good basics, and if you are a good player sometimes you are treated differently than others. With coach Thomas, I learned how to be an equal, I was taught that each player had qualities that I could learn from. I learned to be indispensable but not irreplaceable. I learned to be a better person, because God is looking out for us everyday, with everything we do. He will reward you and help you achieve your goals, as long as you give back and be a good person everyday with simple things. I realized that I won’t agree with people or coaches all the time, but I can always learn from my conversations with them. I learned that my training will never be enough, and the more I train, the more people I leave behind me, and the better I get. I learned to have discipline not only in my training sessions, but off the field too. It’s easy to work hard when people are watching, the difficult part is working hard when no one is around. Finally I learned to be very competitive without leaving my good spirit behind. It is always important for me to remain humble even when I am successful.
When I left the U.S, while playing in my first tournament in Brazil (20 days later), I had to mark “just” Marta, Rosana, Formiga and others, which for me were some of the best players in the world. I did not know if I would be able to, because I never had the experience before, but I would do the best I could and leave the tournament with my head held high. I had worked very hard to get to that level and was very happy to have the opportunity to play with a professional team. I worked very hard that year, and got the starting position on the team I was playing on, and more than that, I was able to help the team to get the Brazilian main league Championship! I played every game as it was the last one, and on the last one (final), the national coach was there, and that was my little star shining for the first time.
After that I was called for the national team to prepare to go to the London Olympics. I was included on the 33 player’s list, but was not able to make it to the final 18 that participated in the Olympics. I was very proud of myself for that accomplishment in such a short period of time. My mind works as such, if I achieve a goal, I will want to achieve another one, each goal more difficult then the next. The following year I joined a different team and made second place in the National league. I earned more respect from people who were involved with women’s soccer in Brazil and people started to know my name. I had the amazing experience of being part of the National Team against France. Now my desire is to begin a beautiful story playing for our national team, helping our national team to get our most coveted medal from the Women’s Soccer World Cup, or the Olympics.
At the beginning of this story, I said that I prayed for God to give me only “one” day on the National Team. Well he gave me more, and everyday I asked for his forgiveness saying that I was just joking, and I do not want only one day, I want thousands of them. I also said earlier that I always wanted to be Marta or Formiga, and today playing with them, I admire them even more than before, but I just want to be me. They each have their own beautiful story in our ‘women’s soccer world’, and I just want to start to write my own beautiful story.
© Mayara Bordin / WomensSoccerUnited.com