Hedvig Lindahl - Sweden
My name is Hedvig Lindahl and I am the player with the most caps in goal for Sweden, male or female. I was voted the Worlds Best female goalkeeper in March 2017 and aim to make the Swedish summer golden.
What has been your football journey up until now?
I started back home in Sweden at 4 years of age and I left the country in my 30s when I joined Chelsea. I’ve been on winning teams, have been injured and experienced a huge number of tournaments. The highlights have been World Cup silver and bronze, and an Olympic silver. The biggest sacrifice I’ve made is the relationships you have to say no to, for example spending time with my grandmother who is 96.
Who is in the photos? Where were the photos taken?
The photos consist of the everyday life in Chelsea, most of them while travelling away to Lyon. Some are of the Swedish national team and here and there you can also catch a glimpse of my youngest son, Nathan.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with any of the photos?
I tried to catch moments that might not make it onto any other platforms otherwise. Just situations from football that we who play can recognise, but that are not always a photo you would necessarily share.
What is your favourite photo? Why?
I like when my little boy is stepping onto the plane. It is clear that family is affected by our choice of career. I also like the photo that shows a camera crew that is creating a documentary and also our charter flight, it speaks volumes about how far the women’s game have come.
Are there any good stories connected with the people you photographed?
Jonna Andersson – it took her a long time to decide to leave Sweden for Chelsea but now she has really found her footing and become part of the group. One photo was from when David Luiz invited us all for his birthday, which is not something that would have necessarily happened before women’s football was taken a little more seriously.
What are the biggest changes happening at the moment in women's football?
More money is invested in various clubs and FAs around the World. FIFA has also put in more money but they need to do more to drive the commercialisation of the game. The clubs and the FAs are driving it. More and more interest is a result of that investment.
What does football mean to you? Do you have a message for the next generation of young female footballers?
Football is intertwined with my life, in all aspects. It is and has been a lifestyle for as long as I can remember. It is where I have most of my experience. It has brought me to different parts of the world. It leads me to meet a lot of new people and has taught me life lessons. My advice to young girls would be that if they go for their football dream, they would be able to live a really good life. I hope they continue to grow the game like we have and the ones before us did, so the next generation will be even better off.
What are the opportunities for female footballers in Sweden?
There are good opportunities to develop into something great, you can have a decent life as a footballer in Damallsvenskan and get a good football education within the Swedish system, especially when it comes to playing defence.
What is the future for Swedish women's football?
No one knows, but with a bit of creativity Sweden can still be a force to be reckoned with for a number of years. Our league is very stable and we have a long history of club football. We will always be able to attract local talents and people that are looking for stability and security, plus a good defensive education. We need to find ways to attract the crowds and I think we need to team up with the classic men’s clubs in Sweden in order to stay competitive longer.
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
Most will stay the same but I think more people will have come in to work with women’s football, meaning some standards will have changed. I think most high profile players will have more and more people working with them, in terms of building their personal brands and riding on the wave of sponsors coming into the game.
What does your family think of your job as a professional soccer player?
They are very supportive of me fulfilling my career. They are used to this kind of lifestyle and don’t mind doing it for a little bit longer.
What’s one thing you always do before a game?
There are a few things I always do, such as tactical, physical and technical preparation. A clear example of what I do to prepare mentally is that I try to use the app HeadSpace to calm my mind down a bit.