Canada U17: Kaila Novak
Kaila Novak is left winger for the U17 Canadian Women’s National Team.
What is your football story?
I’ve played football since I was about three years old and fell in love with it the second I tied my shoes up and stepped onto the field. I have dedicated all of my after-school hours to football and there is no other activity I would rather commit to. Football has not only taken me to some incredible countries with different cultural experiences, but it brought me a lifelong family that continues to grow.
Who is in the photos?
Vintage photos and soccer memorabilia that a street vendor was selling, and members of the Canada’s U17 Women’s National Team. The photos were all taken in Montevideo, in a local park and in the football stadium.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
I tried to show that girls from all over Canada (or any country for that matter) can be connected through football and enjoy the little things that life brings together as friends. True happiness was captured - soccer players aren’t just football, football, football 24/7. We like our off time and to have fun! The pure emotion shows how much joy football (and the places it takes everyone) brings to teammates. There was so much happiness and love and moments like those is what I live for. I cannot stress enough the amount of happiness the entire tournament brought to our lives. Those are my best friends living their best lives, and I was able to capture one second of it, but it is so meaningful.
Each one of the girls come from a different race/ethnicity/culture (Asian, African, European) yet they are all brought together through football. Kayza (right) was born in Ghana, adopted by a Canadian family, played for Ghana’s U17 national team and then switched to Canada - you can see she has adapted and merged with the Canadian team very well.
What was your experience of playing at the U17 WWC?
Incredible would be the word that comes to mind. I can say I’ve never been happier - surrounded by my family (teammates), playing the sport I love and experiencing different cultures and ways of life. It was a journey, each game stole my heart and breath. I am so blessed to have been able to play in this U17 WWC. I have learnt so much about myself as a player and person and have been inspired by all the other female footballers that were in this tournament. It was a trip of a lifetime that will never be forgotten.
What does football mean to you?
Football means everything - I’m sure that is said a lot, but it’s true. It has given me a family, taken me to new countries, taught me the ups and downs life will bring, and has allowed me to go to university starting 2020. It has brought so many moments that have changed my life and it is the reason I am alive and thriving. It brings happiness and has given me a platform to spread that happiness and create small changes in the lives of others and inspire them. Football has given me experiences and opportunities. I am a better human being because of it and I will forever be grateful.
Why is football so important for Canada and Canadian girls?
Football has given Canadian girls a platform, a voice and inspiration for greatness. I’ve learned more about life through football than school and there are certain lessons only sport can teach. Girls all over Canada have insane talent and even if they don’t compete for Canada, football is an escape from life’s troubles - it takes all the worries away. It brings confidence to young Canadian women and that is so important in this world.
What does the future look like for women’s football?
The future is SO BRIGHT. It is growing by the second. Young players are gaining more and more skill, so that in twenty years football will be incomparable to now. I truly believe women will one day be equal to men - what they are paid, how they are viewed, game attendance. Because women’s soccer is so different to men’s, yet so entertaining. Football will continue bringing more and more opportunities to girls and lives will be changed through football on a larger scale.