Aina Villares Vila
How long have you played your sport for? First memory?
I’ve been playing football since I was 7 and my first memory I have is probably my first practice, where I was the only girl in the team.
What made you start playing?
The major part of my friends used to be boys, so when we were at the playground I usually played football with them.
Why do you play?
The main reason why I play is because for me football is a way to escape and avoid thinking about my “real” problems. And, obviously, I love to play football.
How do you feel when you play?
When I play I feel like I’m free and totally filled up.
Do you have any memories of sexism in sport?
Yes, I have. Once I was in a game with my team and I was the only girl there. I managed to dribble one of the opponents (who was a boy) and then his father started to say: “Come on, pull her hair! Kill her, kill her!” just for being a girl.
(a) How did you react to this situation and how did you feel?
I wasn’t aware of the meaning those words had, but my parents, who were there, got so angry.
(b) What would you say to someone facing that situation now?
“Come on, keep playing! It doesn’t matter what he said!” We can’t do anything to avoid people like that but keep playing and show them they are wrong.
What would you like to say to young girls in sport?
If you want to practice some sport, never give up on it. Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something.
Why is it important to you to play sport?
I honestly think playing sport is a way of life. I can’t understand a life without sport. Sport is important to me because practicing it means being mentally healthy, developing some aptitudes needed, and, of course, enjoy the sport by itself with other people who appreciate and love the game the same way as I do. “Mens sana in corpore sano”.
What is your best memory of playing the sport that you do?
Last year, after winning the league, we had a tournament to end the season. I came from a serious knee injury and that year was my comeback. The first game we had to play was against a team from a better league, so they were a step above us. I didn’t play as much as I wanted during the season, but the coach believed in me and I was in the starting XI. We were losing 0-1 when we had an attacking corner. As a defender, I stayed back. Suddenly, the coach started to shout me to go up to the box. Don’t ask me how, after running half of the pitch, I saw the ball was coming to me and I volleyed it. That was the best goal I’ve ever scored. The ball entered to the corner of the net and just after it I ended up under my teammates who all jumped on me. After that I went to my coach to dedicate him the goal and effusively celebrate it with him. We drew the match and then we went to penalties. He decided that I had to take one and I scored the last penalty, the one that gave us the victory. I was so happy for the team but also for myself.
Is it important to spread awareness of women in sport?
It’s very important to spread awareness of Women in Sport. Nowadays, women’s sports are becoming more usual in our society, but not enough. They are not considered as good as men’s sports are, so we have to change this and show how to remove all gender prejudices.