Ewa Susmarska's love for football is so unconditional that her story may inspire both male and female athletes. She travels 4 hours one way to get to practice, and she is also a member of men's tackle squad.
I started my adventure with football about a year ago because of my school, where the Kozly Poznan team had practices during winter in a big sports hall. It made me really curious and I liked it.
Women's football in Poland is not really developed. There is only one team Warsaw Sirens in the capital city, and a few teams in a smaller cities that are trying to gather enough girls to make a real team.
I wanted to play tackle football, but there was a men team only, however the coach, Jacek Wallusch, didn't care if I'm a boy or a girl. If I wanted to fight for a place in a team - no problem, he didn't care about the gender, but the agility and possibilities.
Joining men's team
In the beginning guys were a little confused. Girl? With boys? They were frightened that I'm gonna get killed during practices. But it didn't take much time to show I can take hits, and that I am not so soft.
Moreover, sometimes I'm baking them cookies. And men love cookies.
There is still a bit of a problem with other teams players, especially the ones who play in the same league where I do. They complain about that they can't tackle a girl. I am a girl until I put my helmet on. During the game no one looks into your face mask when you're carrying the ball to consider if I am THIS girl to tackle weaker.
|Photo: Thomasz Lerczak / Quarterback.pl|
On the field you don't care about who is who. Just trying to stop the guy with the ball. Especially that it is not easy for me to get tackled – I play on defense, as a corner. Women can play in offense too, one girl in particular showed us that - Jennifer Welter the RB in men team Texas Revolution.
Practice look like the one in any other team I think. Changing clothes (we've got the same dressing room, what at the beginning was hard for me but I got used to it), then warm up, some drills, one-on-one plays and at the end a whole, 11 on 11 play.
For 2 weeks now, I'm travelling on Sundays to Warsaw, where I can practice with the women team. During the week I'm still practicing with Kozly (the men team I play in).
It's tiring, to get to Warsaw every week, because of 8 hours spent in a bus, but on the 10th of May, Warsaw Sirens play a game with another women team from France. I got asked if I want to play as a Siren, and I agreed – new experiences are important to learn more and more.