Alessandra Puglisi | Fri, 14 Feb 2020
The Aberdeen University Women’s Football Club is a large team based on campus that counts more than 60 members and is always ready to welcome more. After an astounding season in 2017, in which they won both the Granite City Challenge against RGU and their first ever Conference Cup, the club was promoted to Scottish 1A and is now currently playing their 2019/2020 season in the BUCS league. In an exclusive interview, the president of the club, Iona Fotheringham, enlightened us of what their main goals are and future plans of the team for this season, also giving a fresh perspective on how the role of women’s football is contributing to her life at the moment.
Iona revealed that football has been a constant in her life since she was little. Growing up she played for the local team of her hometown Dunfermline, but she has not been able to continue through her high school years because of the lack of a girls’ team. However, Iona believes “now the sport has really turned a corner”, mentioning how essential it is for big companies to participate in the growth of the women’s game. In fact, Barclays has recently invested a considerable amount of money in the development of the FA WSL English League. Nonetheless, Scotland continues to struggle to gain the possibility to raise its voice in the women’s game.
The president of the AUWFC talked in depth about how the main aim of the team is to welcome all the girls that want to play football, regardless of their skills and talent; the club does not hold trials and girls from every year and background are encouraged to pursue their love for the sport. The team also benefits from excellent facilities at the Aberdeen Sports Village for training and with an experienced coach who has been with the club for about ten years, developing players and their abilities. Iona reiterates that winning is important, but it is definitely not the only thing the team is searching for. They welcome the challenge given by other universities in the Scottish 1A and strive to get better, but they value more the sense of inclusivity and family built with time, which is their ultimate goal: “A lot of people are in the competitive side of the squad, but a big group of us just trains for the fun of it, and it is great because in the end everyone just comes together.” She highlighted how being a member of the club is also a big opportunity for international students to make new friends and to experience something that they will carry with them for life.
Iona proudly recalled the steps forwards that the club has made in these last years, gaining investments and sponsorships, upgrading the facilities to play the games and holding two big fundraisers all year around to sustain themselves. The main goal for the club remains to keep growing and improving, upholding the values of teamwork and perseverance. Lastly, Iona talked about how important it is for members to get involved in the committee in order to guarantee the continuity of the club: “There is a lot to do, I want a real strong future generation for the committee so the club can continue to thrive. We have a real strong group of people now, but I think the freshers will step up to the role.”A skilled and strong leader, Iona revealed that one of her wishes would be to keep on being involved in women’s football and pursue a career in sport journalism. By persevering in her role as president, she is already being an excellent example, raising the standards for the game and investing all the resources and energies to make sure the AUWFC will have a bright future.