Asif Burhan speaks to FC Basel's Eunice Beckmann
Asif Burhan, who began blogging for Kick It Out during the 2012 UEFA European Championships, provides readers with a look at the social and cultural impact of football nationally and globally.
In his latest feature, Asif spoke to FC Basel forward Eunice Beckmann.
Beckmann is featured in UEFA’s ‘We Play Strong’ campaign. Asif spoke to Beckmann about the campaign and her career in football.
Question: You are one of the stars of the ‘We Play Strong’ campaign. How did it come about? How did UEFA approach you to be in these videos?
Beckmann: First of all it was an honour that they asked me to be a part of this project. I was really impressed by everything. I think it’s a great idea just to show how hard we work in women’s football. That was pretty much the reason, why I decided to work with them together.
Question: The ‘We Play Strong’ campaign is aimed at young women to persuade them not to drop out of the game. How do you see that? Do you think it’s important we can offer the same opportunities as young men to pursue a career in football?
Beckmann: It’s a great way to show young, talented girls that women’s football is growing and also that it’s actually fun to play in. There are so many opportunities we have besides football. I hope that we can inspire them not to stop and keep on working on themselves. It has so many benefits. I think any girl who is really talented should not stop chasing their dreams and just continue playing.
Question: You yourself had to make a choice. You actually worked when you were younger. Do you think that gave you any special experience to deal with challenges on the pitch which young men might not face?
Beckmann: I undertook an apprenticeship for three years and it was incorporated into the football. When I played at Bayer Leverkusen, I had an apprenticeship and that was really good. It worked really well together. So if I had morning practice I didn’t have to go to work and they were really relaxed about it. I’m more of a worker on the field than in the office!
Question: You started in Germany which is one of the biggest leagues in Europe. Then you went to America, where they are ahead in terms of professionalism in women’s football. Now you are in Basle, Switzerland, where the league is becoming more professional. What are the differences that you noticed?
Beckmann: Just like you said, women’s football in the US is bigger over there. Some games were like really crowded when I was playing over there. Unfortunately, it’s not like that in Switzerland, football isn’t as big, even men’s football.
FC Basle they have a huge fan base. It’s amazing, especially in the Champions League and all that but they have some other sports like skiing. I feel like they are trying, especially with the Swiss National Team is doing very well right now.
You can see a growth over here in the next couple of years it could get there. People would love to come and see us playing. We have the chance to play in the Champions League next season. Hopefully we can get some more people to our little stadium.
Question: If in a year’s time you could look back and say the ‘We Play Strong’ campaign has achieved one thing, what would you like that to be?
Beckmann: Yeah I do, it would make me really happy to see that women’s football is the number one women’s sport in the world and the numbers are just going to go up, all the way up. People come to the stadium every week. I would love to play in front of a packed crowd in Switzerland, even if I don’t play – I’m 26 now – I just hope to see it growing more.
Special thanks to Andre Moita Saravia