My name is Marisa Ewers, from Hamburg in Germany, and I have been playing football for over 12 years now. I am currently playing as a centre midfielder for Birmingham City Women FC in the English Women’s Super League.
What has been your football journey up until now?
I joined my first football club when I was eight years old. Before that my cousins taught me how to kick a ball. I played for a local boys team, which was called Blau-Weiß 96 Schenefeld, located in Hamburg. After five years I joined a local girls team because I wasn’t allowed to train and play with boys anymore. Without my parents I wouldn’t have been able to get to all the training sessions, which I was very thankful for, as when I was just 15 I was invited for my first International camp. When I was 17 I went on to sign my first-ever professional contract with Hamburger SV.
In 2012 I was looking for a new challenge and a city where I could continue my studies in Sport Management. I moved to Cologne, Germany and played for Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Three years ago I came to England to play in the highest English league, the Women’s Super League.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with any of the photos?
It is always a special moment to come into the changing room on match days, as everyone is looking forward to the game and is preparing individually for the competition. Seeing your own shirt hanging there is a great feeling. It reminds you of how lucky you are to represent such a traditional and big club. Especially playing at the men’s ground is a privilege and an occasion you never forget. We had our last game at St. Andrews.
We train once a week at Wast Hills, also the men’s training ground. It was a tough training session. I showed Emma Follis drinking and a few teammates sitting on a ball, and finishing practice. One of our international players Lucy Staniforth and some of the kids Shania Hayles and Sarah Mayline were preparing themselves mentally for testing. Everyone is normally nervous. Our goalie and youngster Hannah Hampton is sprint testing at Wast Hills. Our Strength & Conditioning coach Holly is doing a great job in terms of getting the tests done as quickly as possible.
After our last home game at St. Andrews, our number 9 Ellen White was interviewed by the media. Ellen scored two goals against Liverpool. She has been outrageous during her time at the Blues, finishing top goalscorer in every season. She is truly professional and a fighter.
What are the biggest changes happening at the moment in women's football?
Investment increases continuously, especially within clubs that have a Premier League men’s team. The Women’s World Cup in France this summer could be vital for the development of women’s football in terms of professionalism and awareness. The winner of the World Cup this year will be sure to improve and attract success in terms of spectators and marketing.
What does football mean to you? Do you have a message for the next generation of young female footballers
Football has been a huge part in my life since I was able to walk. It gives me freedom and a chance to jump into a different world. Playing in a team is the best! The friends I have made will last forever and I have traveled all over the world to play. And I’m so grateful that I chose football as a career. For the next generation, be brave and work hard in order to reach your dreams and goals - nothing is impossible!
What are the opportunities for female footballers in Germany?
The league has been professional for a long time now and there are internationally successful teams such as Wolfsburg or Bayern München. Every girl gets a chance to join a team and the country is trying to increase its participation of young female footballers.
What is the future for German women's football?
The outcome of the Women’s World Cup is very important for the future of German women’s football, as the clubs need to increase numbers of spectators and awareness. If Germany were to win the World Cup, the league should be able to go to the next level and develop in terms of professionalism. A few years ago lots of countries would choose Germany as the world’s number one football nation in women’s football, but nowadays other countries have developed a lot and are very competitive.
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
If the WWC is as exciting as it is promising to be many important things should boom: The number of spectators, clubs investment, more marketing, and an increase in professionalism