Two young women team up to encourage women’s football in Turkey
Two young women, 14-year-old Ela Demiral from Istanbul and 17-year-old Olivia Rose Auffarth from the U.S. state of New York, have started a project called “Goal to Future” to improve women’s football in Turkey.
“We want to encourage girls to play football,” Demiral told Demirören News Agency on May 12.
The mastermind of the project is Auffarth, who also plays for the U-17 Turkish National Team as her mother is a Turkish citizen.
Auffarth’s contact with Demiral came just after she established her organization, Authentic Goal Inc., in New York to encourage women’s football.
“There is a huge imbalance between the numbers of women players in the U.S. and Turkey. So, I called my friend Ela to start the ‘Goal to Future’ project,” noted Auffarth.
Being interested in sports such as athletics and surfing, Demiral did not hesitate to become a part of the program.
“Firstly, I came in contact with the women’s football team in Nusaybin [a district in the southeastern province of Mardin]. After then, a team from Adıyaman [another southeastern province] found me,” Demiral said while elaborating how her project started.
Giving a hand to both teams, the two women began their efforts to increase the interest in women’s football.
“There is huge demand from across the country for the project. We want to help them all. If we can unite, we can bring change,” Demiral added.
When asked about her dream, Auffarth stressed, “I see myself as a professional football player or a coach in the future. But as a sportswoman, I want to inspire and encourage women.”
The national athlete made a call to all women interested in football across the country to get in touch with them via their Instagram account or email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Noting another dream of Auffarth, Demiral said, “Olivia plays in a New York team. Her U.S. team wants to have a sister team in Turkey. Her U.S. teammates want to come here from time to time and mentor Turkish women players.”
“This is a nonprofit organization and a project. There is also space for women in this sport in a country where football is loved so much,” she added.