Her Story: Emma, Defender, AFC Leyton Women
Emma, AFC Leyton Women Footballing Journey
My advice to any female wanting to get into football is just go for it. The women’s football community are a very welcoming group of people, especially at AFC Leyton
I started playing football in primary school at break and lunch time with the boys and really enjoyed it. When I went to secondary school I joined my school football team where I meet a friend who at the time was playing for a team called long lane, she invited me to a training session, after which I signed for my first grassroots football team.
For AFC Leyton I play as centre back.
My favourite memory was playing in two cup finals last season. Although we didn’t win it was great experience and achievement.
If I had to describe myself as a player I would say I am a strong physical player that communicates well.
What’s it like being a muslim player?
As I don’t wear a hijab, I feel like my experience is different from some as people don’t usually assume my religion, so I’ve never been the target of religious discrimination. The biggest challenge I face as a Muslim player is competing and training during in Ramadan where we fast from sunrise to sunset, as we aren’t allowed to eat or drink in this time period. It is a big test of willpower and discipline.
For Ramadan, my tips would be to wake up before Fajr and eat and drink as much as you can before the fasting day starts, so you have some energy to help you throughout the day, and when you break you fast I would also recommend eating as much as you can. Lastly limit the amount of activity you partake in before football so you don’t burn yourself out.
My advice to any female wanting to get into football is just go for it. The women’s football community are a very welcoming group of people, especially at AFC Leyton, and will look out for you and your best interest. They will cater to your needs and help you in every way possible.
For those that wear hijabs and cover up, there are sport hijabs and under layers available to make playing football a comfortable experience without having to comprise your beliefs