PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL PLAYER EDEN WASHINGTON OPENS UP ABOUT FINDING SUCCESS IN AN MALE-DOMINATED FIELD.
Eden Washington is an 18-year-old Premier League Side football player who plays for Bedfordshire Ladies. She first started playing football when she was 15 and knew straight away that it was something she wanted to pursue, just after her very first training session. She’s had the passion for football ever since and has never looked back.
We caught up with Eden to find out her view on people’s perception of female football players, and any advice she has to upcoming players like herself:
Before your first ever training session, do you remember ever having different career aspirations?
“Yes! Before I started playing football I wanted to be a dancer. I imagined having my very own dance company where I could choreograph students and perform at different events. It was after my mum died where I stopped; I was seven at the time. Dance requires a lot of emotion and so after it happened, whenever I danced the memories of my mum’s death would come back and it got to a point where it was too much for me to handle. When I started to play football, I found that all my problems and emotions would just disappear as soon as the ball was at my feet. I knew from then it was something I needed to purse.
I want to make my mum proud and that’s the main reason why I’m chasing after this dream of mine, the dream of becoming a professional football player.”
As well as having such a drive and passion for football, Eden finds the bond between her and her team something that makes everything worthwhile and more rewarding. She considers her team as her family. Eden loves to watch the way other footballers play, particularly Ronaldinho who she admires due to his drive and dedication to the sport. Although he no longer plays, she says she loves the fact that he remained humble all throughout his success.
What would you say is the hardest thing about being a football player?
“I would say the hardest thing is getting noticed, and I think that’s because women’s football isn’t publicised or talked about in the media as much as men’s. It makes it hard for us females. I think people somehow believe women don’t really take it seriously but you would be surprised how many of us do.
I know a few girls who have doubted themselves, and maybe not pursued a career in football because people have made comments in regards to them being a female and wanting to play. I also know girls who have been told they’ll never be good enough to purse a career in football and to tell you the truth, that’s what makes me want it more. I want to be the one to show others that girls CAN play football; and that we shouldn’t be put in a box.
I think there’s a misconception of how women’s football works. I’ve accepted the fact that it isn’t the same as men’s and I’m not sure if it will ever be; but things are starting to change and are gradually getting better.”
Has there ever been a time where you felt like giving up?
“Yeah there has been. In 2013, I was supposed to fly out to America to purse my career in football fully; but things didn’t go as planned. When that happened, I just remember I started doubting myself and debating whether I really wanted to carry it on or not. However, with all my heart I knew I couldn’t see myself doing anything else and that’s why I kept going.”
How many times do you train and do you have a specific diet you maintain?
“I have two training sessions per week, but I also self train in my own time. I try to maintain a good and healthy diet as this has an effect on my fitness. Whenever I’m a preparing for a game, I have to make sure I have the right amount of energy so I can perform at my best.”
(The interview continues further below)
Eden has worked hard to get where she is now and continues to push herself each day to reach her full potential. We asked her for her advice to young girls who have the same career aspiration like hers. Here’s what she had to say:
“The best advice that I could ever give to any young girl with similar career aspiration like mine is – No matter how big your dream is or what people say, you have to keep working towards that dream. If it’s something you really want and you are willing to work for it, it will all work out. Life is one big roller coaster and in order to see what the future holds, you just have to keep holding on.”
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? – What is the future for Eden?
“I’ll be hopefully flying out to America this summer to start playing professional women’s football in the USA. I see myself inspiring people there and encouraging them to chase after their dreams, whatever they may be because anything is possible.”
What do you want to be remembered by?
“I want to be remembered as the girl who was always seen with a football in her hand. I want people to immediately say “oh eden the footballer” whenever I’m spoken about. Above it all, I want to be remembered as the person that didn’t really know what she wanted at first, but when she did she worked hard and she’s kept pushing. No matter how many obstacles she had to duck and dive, she still made it to where she wanted to be.”
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