Exclusive: Aditi Chauhan speaks about her stint at West Ham

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Ms Aditi Chauhan spoke about her stint at English club West Ham United in an interactive session with Hyderabad FC. The Indian Super League side were celebrating International Youth Day on August 12 joining hands with Enabling Leadership NGO. Additionally, Football Express actively participated in the Q&A session.

Indian women’s team custodian Chauhan played an important role in Gokulam Kerala FC’s IWL triumph in the 2019-20 season. However, the worsening of the pandemic had adversely affected football especially women’s football. However, the 27-year-old shot-stopper is confident about the future of women’s football in India.

Indian tigresses have begun their preparations for the 2022 AFC Asian Cup under new head coach Thomas Dennerby. But lack of playing time due to the exclusion of IWL this season has taken a heavy toll. Can Aditi & co. put up an impressive performance in the Asia Cup?

Aditi Chauhan pursued sports management along with playing with a professional club

The honourable guests also included Hyderabad FC assistant coach Mr Thangboi Singto as well as representatives from Borussia Dortmund, Reliance Foundation Sports as well as Program Lead for the ‘Just for Kicks’ campaign. Football Express had the following question :

You’ve been a tremendous inspiration to Indian football fans, particularly with your efforts to promote girls’ football. Our question to you is, since you’ve played for West Ham Ladies, Can you give us an insight about the early challenges on has to face and how you have acclimatized to the increased level of professionalism and training methods?

To this question, she replied that it was a good move for her in her professional career as a footballer and as a goalkeeper. Additionally, Ms Aditi Chauhan considered it as a challenge so as to improve herself and nearing the English standard. She said,

“I think it put me in a better position. This experience, I could use while I was playing for the national team and I could also help and guide the youngsters who were part of the national team a lot better and of course, my own standard and my game also improved drastically.  There were a lot of small technical parts of my game that also improved. I’m really grateful for that opportunity.”

She also did her Sports management studies and then had experience as an intern at Decathlon. Then, she tried to play for Millwall FC. But she caught the attention of the third division club West Ham Ladies. However, she had to manage the internship as well as training during her time at the London club.

“During the day, I used to go for my internship to Decathlon office and in the evening I used to cycle half the way to the training centre and then come back. So the time I used to come back from training, it used to be really late by 11 pm or 12 at night.”

Hyderabad FC have been one of the clubs that are rumoured to join the IWL. Chauhan expects that in the near future, the southern club might also have a women’s team in the league. She says,

“We could not even establish ourselves in Hyderabad because we had to stay in Goa and this year we have to do be based in Goa due to the pandemic. Definitely, we have some plans. Definitely, in the near future, we will have a women’s football team.”

Although the Indian No.1 had to experience a lot of struggles, she found it as an enjoyable experience and her love towards football gradually increased! Chauhan is included in the squad for the AFC Asia Cup preparations.

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