Jenny Bitzer - AS Roma
My name is Jenny Bitzer, I’m 24 years old and from Germany. I have been playing football for nearly 18 years, but this past season was my first time playing professionally - with AS Roma in the Italian Serie A.
Who is in the photos? Where were the photos taken?
The photos feature teammates and staff. They were taken at our training ground, an Olympic sports center we share with many other sports and athletes.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
The photos were meant to capture moments of everyday life at AS Roma. Moments before, during, and after training sessions, which give an insight into what it is like to be a player for this team every day. I believe it gives a different perspective to what is usually shared with the public.
What is your favourite photo?
My favorite captures a group of girls celebrating their win at a tournament style training session. I believe it shows how this game can create pure joy and happiness, even in a training session.
What has been your football journey up until now?
I started playing football when I was 7 years old. Football has allowed me to move to many different countries – after playing in Germany until I was 19, I played college football in the U.S. for four years, went on to play semi-professionally in Iceland and England, and finally moved to Italy where I signed my first professional contract with A.S. Roma for the 2018/19 season.
Are there any good stories connected with the people you photographed?
One photo shows some players make their way to the gym. These walks that allow players to catch up and have conversations before starting their workouts are very valued by the players. Some of the photos were taken at a friendly match we played. These photos feature the team talk before the match, a scene during the match, and then a discussion about tactics during half time, where players and staff work together to solve problems that came up during the match. The story behind these photos is that a game consists of many elements and one of the most important factors for any team is good communications, between players, but also with the coaching staff.
Finally, one photo was taken after a hard training session - my teammate is sitting in the locker room, enjoying an apple, and laughing with some other teammates. These moments after a hard session, when you are tired, but content with the work you just did, and happy that you did it alongside your teammates are some of the most precious moments in our job.
Everyone in our coaching staff is always positive, encouraging, and, most importantly, they care for you as a person and not just a player. The environment they created made this season a very special one for me and I am glad I could capture a few moments in which their personalities really shine.
What are the opportunities for female footballers in Germany (and Italy)?
I think opportunities for female footballers in both countries are constantly evolving. Especially in Italy, women’s football has experienced rapid growth. I believe that in both countries, the level of play is improving constantly, as there are more and more opportunities for female players to join good development programs, and women’s football as a whole is improving, which gives individual players a chance to develop as well.
What are the biggest changes happening at the moment in women's football?
Women’s football is gaining more and more attention around the world. The standard of the game keeps getting higher and people start to notice how enjoyable it can be to watch women’s football. Many clubs are investing more resources into the women’s side, and fans of successful men’s teams are slowly starting to pay attention to their women’s side as well, which helps the awareness tremendously.
What does football mean to you? Do you have a message for the next generation of young female footballers
Football means so much to me. Its ability to create feelings and emotions, to connect and move people is unparalleled. Playing football in many different countries and on various levels has taught me so much about life and about myself. It has helped me grow and develop as a person, and it connected me with some of the most incredible people.
To the next generation of young female footballers, I would like to say: Work hard. Believe in yourself. Don’t listen to people who try to put you or women’s football down. And, more than anything, make sure you enjoy every moment and you always trust the process.
What is the future for German women's football?
Generally speaking, I believe that our youth system is one of the best in Europe, but we need to keep investing in our youth and start to invest more into the female side of football as a whole. I do believe that there is a lot of room for improvement in the top women’s leagues when it comes to investment and awareness.
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
I think and hope that the 2019 WWC will create even more attention and awareness around women’s football. Many countries are promoting this World Cup heavily, and it looks like there will be more extensive coverage of the games on television and the media. This gives people a chance to get to know individual players and teams. All in all, I believe that this World Cup will help women’s football to become more established.