My name is Kristrún Rut Hassing Antonsdóttir. I’m from Iceland, but born in Denmark in 1994. From a young age I was interested in all kind of sports. I started out doing gymnastics when I was 5 years old, but I have also been involved in badminton, basketball, and soccer. Soccer and basketball stuck with me throughout my teen years, but when I felt like I really had to choose one sport, soccer had my heart. Now, I’m a professional soccer player for the club Avaldsnes IL in Norway, Toppserien. I played for AS Roma in Italy last season. On top of that I attend an online program at the Collège LaSalle in Montréal, Canada.
Who is in the photos? Where were the photos taken?
The photos are taken in Rome, Italy. Moreover, the people in the photos are the AS Roma team and staff, which I was a part of during the season 2018/19, before I decided to sign for Avaldsnes IL in Norway. All of the photos are taken in and around the team training, preparations, trips, and games.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
What I wanted to showcase with the photos was the feeling. I love to capture a feeling and look back at a photo and re-feel that particular moment. Also, in my opinion soccer and sports in general bring out a lot of feelings; therefore, I felt that it was applicable to try to capture that. Moreover, I wanted the photos to be very pure and showcase the natural aspect of being a professional athlete at AS Roma.
What is your favourite photo?
There is one photo that absolutely captures the feeling of playing the game you love. The colours and the lighting reflect a very glorious feeling that can light up the soul when doing something that excites you. Moreover, what I especially like about the photo and is something I really think is a great metaphor for sports is the girl’s shadow. In more detail, it is just you as a player and your “shadow” that can determine how well you perform and how far you can get. It’s important that the shadow doesn’t outgrow your figure.
Are there any good stories connected with the people you photographed?
There are a lot of good stories and memories as they were my teammates and coaches for about 8 months. There were so many funny moments and laughs, but when I was about to write them down I realized that our humour is somewhat odd and a lot of the times it does not sound funny to others. There were so many times where we laughed until we were crying, but when explaining it to others it did not sound funny at all, therefore I have decided that it might be better not to write it here.
What has been your football journey up until now?
I started soccer when I was around 11 or 12. That was mainly because my knees were not allowing me to participate as much in gymnastics as I would have liked and I needed another sport to fill in the gap. I agreed to try out soccer because my best friends were both playing soccer in the summer. I will not lie and say that I had god given talent, because I was clearly a gymnast that was not very graceful when it came to the ball. However, what I had was the work rate and strength to just run and defend.
When I decided to start I played in the summer as most other sports I did were only played in the winter. I distinctively remember a moment when I was starting out that has stuck with me throughout the years. It was after a rainy summer practice where my mom was waiting for me inside the car, parked on the side of the grass field. I was wearing straight leg adidas pants that were not tucked into the socks, a very tight fitted fleece zip up, and no hair tie. I ran up to the car, where my mom puts the window down and asks me how the training was. I reply with such enthusiasm that it was so awesome, because I got a pass! That pretty much sums up where I started. But it also reveals the love I had for this game from the start, because I wasn’t bothered that they did not pass the ball to me, I was so happy and content that I got a pass and got to play. From there, I started practicing indoor soccer in the winter, then practicing with the older girls, and then to switching over to a bigger team in the town closest to my hometown.
I’ve always had a pretty heavy workload. In the past I’ve juggled basketball, soccer, school, the school’s soccer academy, family, and personal life. However, I believe that the workload has been transported into my strength of being a hard worker. With that being said, being a hard worker that enjoys having too much on my plate takes a lot of sacrifices. I would say that the biggest sacrifice I’ve made to get here is time. I’ve sacrificed time with friends, time with the family, time socialising, time for myself. All this time I’ve sacrificed has not been for nothing, because it has got me further than I had imagined myself going. In this career, as in life, there will always be ups and downs and I believe it comes in waves. For me, the best times are when I’m playing and pushing myself. As for the worst times they are when I’m not playing or injured, which has not been often. Although being away from the game can cause me pain, I’ve come to realise that it is also a blessing. I say that because those are the times where I look at areas for improvement the most, I push myself the most, and as a result I usually come back stronger.
What are the opportunities for female footballers in Iceland (and Italy)?
I believe that there are opportunities everywhere; it just depends on each individual to seek them. However, what is lacking in Iceland to make football professional and extend opportunities is first and foremost the lack of funds for the clubs, in order to be able to provide players with what they need to make soccer their profession. As for Italy, the platform is very big because there are so many gigantic clubs with all the right knowledge, experience, and funds to link it over to the women’s league. With that being said, the league is still not verified as a professional league and that, in my opinion, is about the federation and not the funds. I believe that most of the world’s well established leagues that are not professional have an opportunity and potential to become professional, whether that is a short term or a long term goal. However, in order to do so there needs to be time, effort, and actions put into those future plans.
What are the biggest changes happening at the moment in women's football?
There is definitely a lot more publicity for women’s soccer at the moment. The game, players, and teams are getting more recognition and followers. However, what I think is the biggest change in women’s soccer at the moment is that players are demanding a change. It’s not about the talk anymore, it’s about action and I believe that the more women in this industry express their opinions, the brighter future they can create for the generations to come.
What does football mean to you? Do you have a message for the next generation of young female footballers?
This sentence has most definitely been said and written before, but football means the world to me. It is something that has maybe not been part of my life since I started walking but has, nevertheless, had a very huge impact on my life. It has been everything from an outlet, my escape, to heartbreak, glorious moments, unforgettable times, and life-lasting relationships. It has shown me parts of the world, its people, its gems, and most importantly me. It has taught me so much about myself that I had no idea existed within me. It has taught me to push myself.
Therefore, my message for the next generation is to keep pushing the boundaries. The worst thing we do is we create boundaries for ourselves, when really there are no boundaries. We create them ourselves. Moreover, when more players have pushed their boundaries it can motivate women’s leagues to push their boundaries and women’s soccer in general.
What is the future for Icelandic women's football?
I think that the future for Icelandic women’s football is bright. There are so many great players from Iceland that are reaching great heights globally and also so many up and coming talents that can really contribute. The Icelandic national team, unfortunately, did not qualify for the World Cup, but despite that I believe that the team has been getting stronger with each year that goes by. It goes without saying that when the national team is good, the interest within the nation sparkles. I think that the interest among girls in Iceland has been increasing, but it is a constant investment to keep that interest.
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
I expect that after the Women’s World Cup in 2019, there will hopefully be plans put into action to make more leagues around the world professional. Moreover, I hope that the standards within the leagues that currently are professional will offer better quality and benefits. In addition, the publicity of the women’s side of the game will hopefully keep increasing and the broadcast of the World Cup will also spark interest amongst young girls more than it ever has. In order for the need to be recognised and all of this to be put into place, we need to get as much publicity for the World Cup so that more people will watch and acknowledge this beautiful game that deserves more than it has been getting throughout the years.