Most of us are familiar with the FCB Men’s Soccer team, but few of us are aware that FCB also has a women’s team. I had the privilege of meeting one of the former women’s soccer players, Sofia Herzog at our local gym a while ago. Amazed at her ability to juggle professional soccer, university studies focusing on Biotechnology at ETH Zürich and much more, I felt compelled to reach out to Sofia for a multitude of reasons.
For one, I wanted to shed light on the fact that women are thriving in a traditionally male dominated sport. Women need more recognition in sports and deserve our support. Not to mention, for those of us raising girls, these women serve as role models and ambassadors for women in sports all over the world. Taking our families to a women’s game not only helps support the team, but it also shows our children that women are powerful and just as deserving to be on any field as men.
Finally, we all need strong, healthy, powerful inspiration in our lives. By profiling young women who are doing their best to be positive role models, we are making a statement that we value their hard work and appreciate their efforts. I for one am grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know Sofia and wish the FCB Women’s Team all the best in their future endeavors.
More2Explore (M2E): How old is the FCB Frauen Team?
Sofia: The Women’s team was adopted from FC Concordia Basel in 2008. Before that, there was not an existing women’s section in FC Basel.
M2E: How does one become a member of the team? What does the try – out process entail?
Sofia: There is no classical try-out. The classical way to join the team is to go through our junior teams (U15, U17, U19) and the most talented athletes eventually move on to the senior team. Another way to become a team member is the transfer from another team.
In contrast to the male soccer players, most of the female players are more or less playing for free and are only compensated for their education, which is required to be paid.
However, I took a slightly different approach. Until the age of 14, I played with one year of exception, for the boy’s team of Concordia and FC Basel (U14 and U15). For me, this was the best education and training I could have experienced. In my opinion, that is still the best way to play – with boys, as long as your body can keep up with the men.
M2E: What is the weekly/monthly/yearly commitment to be a member of the team?
Sofia: There is no commitment or mark that we have to achieve, other than performance. In a team, anyone should notice if another member is not giving a 100%. It is our responsibility to make sure we push each other to reach 100%. This is the key to success.
M2E: How does the team fund games, uniforms, travel, etc.? What can the public do to support the FCB Frauen team and women in sports?
Sofia: Luckily we are part of the most successful club in Switzerland and also profit partially from them (infrastructure etc.). However, as a non-profit team, we always fight for the money we obtain from the club, because of course the arguments against us are there.
For the club, it is probably more valuable to invest in a junior player, who perhaps one day can make it to the first team and be sold for a lot of money to an international club. Therefore, it is important to be very correct, very attentive to represent our club the best we can and focus on our performance to make our budget legitimate.
M2E: When is the FCB Frauen season and where is the home stadium? Where is the schedule posted?
Sofia: The season normally runs from August to the middle of November and then continues in the beginning of February and runs until the middle of May.
We play on the FC Basel Nachwuchs Campus, just next to the Grün 80, which is a very peaceful place and makes it ideal to add a game visit to a Saturday afternoon walk.
M2E: As an athlete and a student, how do you schedule your time and balance your daily routines?
Sofia: Good question. Sometimes I don’t know. But it’s all about planning. I like to have a structure to my day and then I simply go from one thing to the next. Sometimes this makes living with me not so easy because I have very little flexibility, but passion compensates for a lot.
M2E: As a woman, how has sports played a positive role in your life? In your opinion, what benefits do women receive when they play a team or individual sport?
Sofia: Sports give me a feeling that nothing else can give me. I couldn’t study without doing sports; I would explode. I’m become very antsy after sitting for more than two hours and sports provide me with some fresh air after an intense day.
I am very inspired by my parents, who do sports every day, so maybe it’s also inherited a little bit.
M2E: How can we encourage young girls and women to participate in sports?
Sofia: For me, playing sports was the key to help me overcome being timid and my anxiety. I started Karate at five – years because I was afraid of being kidnapped 🙂 It helped me a lot, even though I am still not very self-confident. Sports also give you a lot of happy moments, for example, if you do something you never thought you could do. I think it is one of our biggest tasks – to help people move and the sooner the better. If this is done, it becomes part of your DNA.
Thank you Sofia for taking the time to answer my questions.
To hear more about women in sports, listen the the Podcast conducted by Terry Gross on Fresh Air with Abby Wambach entitled, Why Abby Wambach Doesn’t Want To Be Known, “Just As A Soccer Player.”