They finish work, close up manuals and put away university handouts, climb into the car and from all over the Upper Tiber Valley come to meet up at the Marcucci Graziano sports centre, in Spedalicchio, Umbertide.
In the locker room, they slip on kit, socks and football boots and train for a couple of hours. They are the ladies of the Wood Women Futsal CF5 team, coached by Alessandro Moretti, who regardless of the cold and rain defy the weather and the determinedly male dominated sport, which they’ve been doing for over a year with conviction and ease.
by Marco Polchi
Ph:Milko Mattiacci – Mokacomunicazione
Ladies, how did you come to start this team?
«It started last year, when three of us left another area of the sports sector. We contacted the Wood Pub in Umbertide to see if it were available to help us out as a sponsor, and then started looking for a coach willing to work with us; which wasn’t easy. Some of us already played and we started from there; at first there weren’t many of us, but through word of mouth and an advert on Facebook, other girls joined and the team was born».
Is it true that last year you entered the championship on the last day possible?
«Yes, last season came and went, so we applied the night before! But we wanted to be in the tournament at all costs».
Was it difficult at first?
«It was. We put the team together in a hurry and also started workouts and training late. However, we should say that we progressed together, bit by bit and those who were more prepared helped the others».
How come the team logo is a panda?
«The meaning is interesting and quite nice. The abbreviation of Wood Women’s Futsal is WWF, like the environment charity with the panda logo… we liked that! Isn’t it obvious?».
What are ladies like yourselves doing playing football, in this case futsal*?
«Girl power, dear! (smiling, Ed.) Joking aside, we do it just for fun beyond the results, to play sport, to be active and to experience an environment that’s not normally for women. We like spending time together this way, we play five a-side for friendship and it’s also clear that some of the men at home have shared a bit of their passion for the game…».
It’s often said that women don’t know how to ‘do’ groups, but you seem very close.
«That’s true. Last season, for example, the group kept us together and gave us the strength to carry on when our coach was injured, (when playing football!) Often it’s true that women don’t know how to get on, but not in our case. We are friends before we’re teammates».
Do you follow football in general?
«Of course not! Only occasionally when our friends or boyfriends play».
What do your boyfriends say? Do they support you?
«Certainly, they support us and come to matches. Even if someone asks us why we’re not doing dance instead».
What annoys you more, a defeat or your boyfriend not taking you out to dinner?
«Maybe the boyfriend… (they laugh and each has her own answer, Ed.) But, with regards to losing we take it, although it depends on how it happened. We never like it, but as long as we’ve played our best even a defeat can be tolerated».
What would you say to a team member who doesn’t pass you the ball when you’re free in front of the goal?
«Unrepeatable things! Obviously you get angry, and on occasion we’ve even been known to argue while the others carry on… but it’s normal to get wound up but then it’s all over. The most annoying thing is when we don’t do the stuff we’ve been training to do in the actual match».
Home or nightclub?
«at Lavinia’s playing Taboo».
Finally, heels or studs?
«Well, heels and then studs. We’re still ladies!».
*Futsal is 5 a-side football.