[Rachel] Hey everyone this is Rachel from Sports Solutions, we are continuing on our series of interviews with friends or athletes and just finding out more about what they do. So today we have Wanxin here. Would you like to tell us about yourself?
[Wanxin] Hi! Well I'm a former teammate of Rachel, I play football, yeah we play football.So I'm currently working in the Football Association of Singapore so obviously I'm dedicating quite a bit of time and effort in trying to grow the women's football scene in Singapore so yeah we'll find out more as Rachel promised me.
[Rachel] Great! Yeah so Wan Xin used to play with me at VJ (Victoria Junior College), she was the captain actually. And it was quite a great time. We played a couple more clubs together since then. So my first question actually is could you just tell us a bit about your journey as a football player?
[Wanxin] Well I started pretty late, I come from a family with a pretty sporty background but we have never been into football like none of my family members play football. We were into track and field and basketball. My brothers play basketball, so that was what I was doing back in primary school and secondary school. But for some odd reasons, I'm always allocated to classes with many many boys like majority of them are guys like out of the 40 maybe like only eight or six girls during my secondary school time. So and obviously the boys love football and that was how I caught myself playing.
[Rachel] So you had no choice lah.
[Wanxin] Yeah sort of. And then slowly I fell in love with the sport but I've never thought that football was for girls. I always thought it was for boys because I've never seen any other girl play football until one day I dropped by the VJ open house and then I saw girls on the field I was like, "Oh goodness, like they exist!" you know? And that got me excited and that's how I ended up in VJ football and that was where I started my competitive journey but it hasn't been like the smoothest of rides because I have two ACL tears. I need physios like yourself -
[Rachel] One on each leg?
[Wanxin] Yeah, I'm quite balanced now, left and right. Yeah so...but it has never turned me away from the sport. I just found different ways to enjoy it and right now as of last year I decided to step away from competitive football. So just recreational for me now and focus
on coaching and administration.
[Rachel] Okay so yeah you actually went a bit into the second question which is what you've been involved with since then. If you could maybe just tell us a bit about what you do at FAS, and some of the challenges that you faced.
[Wanxin] Okay well I'm specifically in the women's and grassroots department so it's quite self-explanatory. My focus is mainly on trying to grow the game amongst girls women and kids and children. So it's actually very enjoyable because it's all about fun, about introducing the sport to the mass public especially among children and girls. The other aspect of my job is to look after the national setup so in women's division we've got the national senior team, we've got the under-19, under-16, under-14 and two years ago, we added, not within the national setup, but we added an under-12 development group. So there's a very nice pathway now for the girls, but we are still trying to grow the pool. And that is my main role and that is also where the challenge lies right? Trying to grow the game and trying to introduce the game to girls and children. I mean challenges, most kids a lot of kids these days are more attracted to computer games, esports. They don't really hang out outdoors as much. So trying to get them going or trying to enter schools even it is sometimes a bit of a challenge. And then for girls specifically, there's still a stigma that football is a male-dominant sport and girls who play football are un-girly, which is false. Yeah, look at yourself! I might not be the best example but let's look at Rachel. Yeah, so these are the main challenges that we face but i think it's getting better for sure. For example, our numbers at our grassroots centers, our fas girl cubs program for under 12 girls, is growing. Like last year in 2019, we had 50 girls and then 2020, we had 80. So that's quite a big jump, but unfortunately, obviously with Covid, we couldn't really get the momentum going, so that's the new challenge for us this year to to see whether we can sustain that growth and and and maybe even push it further.
[Rachel] Yeah, I saw actually recently there was this Panna challenge as well, which is like 1v1 and then trying to nutmeg people and it was quite amazing because all the girls are so skilled! They're really good, I was like "wow".
[Wanxin] Yeah one of our old teammates, Tixi, Tan Xinyi scored the fastest panna of the tournament.
[Rachel] Yeah that was super cool!
[Wanxin] So, when you're faced with challenges like Covid, I think all of us are forced to adapt or even innovate. And so without Covid, we might never have this challenge.
[Wanxin] And this is actually a new sport and actually something that (is suitable) for girls. It is very accessible. Like 1v1, you can you can do it anywhere, and it's fun, it's intensive, it keeps your heart rate up the whole time of the 2 to 3 minutes that you play. Yeah, so with challenges, if we look at it another way, it sets us up for new innovations and breakthroughs.
[Rachel] Yeah, this is definitely one of the like positives coming out of the year, from the soccer point of view at least.
So, one more question, just being involved in the scene, in the women's soccer scene, what are you excited for, for Singapore - in the coming year?
[Wanxin] Okay, I'm not too sure whether it will still go on, but initially, we had a great plan this year. We are actually going to host the Under-20 Women's Asian Cup qualifiers. We're going to be one of the hosts which means countries will come in and that would be one of the, i think, one of the first or even the first major tournament for women's football that we have ever hosted. Yeah, but i'm not sure whether (it'll proceed). That was actually supposed to be held in march this year. It's supposed to be held then, but i think it's going to be postponed. But I guess until the vaccine is more like readily available, because we are talking about international travels here. And we wanted to run the whole campaign around it. Yeah, so that was something we were really excited about, but it's okay, we'll see how it goes and we'll try to keep the plan intact or we try to find like before, try to find ways to innovate and ride on the wave.
[Rachel] Great! Well, thanks so much for doing this interview with us. It's been great to hear more about what's happening on the organizing side of the women's soccer scene.
[Rachel] Yeah, so thank you!
[Wanxin] Take care! Okay, bye!