Interview with Aditi Chauhan - "I am very excited and want to help West Ham do well in the league"
Indian international women’s team goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan recently joined the West Ham United Ladies team and will be playing for them in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division, which is a level lower than the FA Women’s Super League, which has two divisions, WSL 1 and WSL 2.
The 24-year-old, who has just completed her Masters in Sports Management from Loughborough University, made her debut for them in a match against Coventry City recently. She has represented India in many tournaments at both the U-19 as well as senior levels and was part of the team that won the gold medal at the 2012 SAFF Championships.
She spoke to Sportskeeda after having signed for West Ham United. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
After having signed for West Ham Ladies, what are your hopes for your stint with them?
I am very excited about this opportunity and hope to help West Ham do well in the league. For me personally, I hope to learn a lot as a player and improve as a goalkeeper.
You played football at Loughborough University. How good was the level there and how big a role do you think it played in helping you sign for West Ham?
After my course at the University, I got an internship at Decathlon, so I moved to London and started giving trials for Millwall which is a Super league club (2nd division) but I was told that FA rules do not allow me to play for a 1st or 2nd division club with a student visa.
My goalkeeping coach at Millwall, who also trains us at West Ham, suggested that I try out for them. I think my stint at Loughborough helped me improve a bit as a player, apart from giving me fond memories off the field.
Tell us about your most memorable experience playing with the Indian National Women's Football team.
Without a doubt, my most memorable experience with the Indian National Women’s Football team was when we won the gold medal at the SAFF Championships in 2012 in Sri Lanka.
You just completed your Masters in Sports Management from Loughborough. How helpful do you think such a degree is, especially in a field like sports, which is very different from most other disciplines?
I wanted to have a career in sports even after I stopped playing football. That was the reason I decided to come to England and study at a top Sports University here. It will certainly help me in the future when I get into the sports industry.
Your friend Tanvie Hans recently signed for Fulham Ladies. What are your thoughts on her move, and are you looking forward to going up against her in the future?
Tanvie is a very old friend from Delhi, and since she's got a British passport, she could not play for India and her passion for football brought her here to London. Fulham Ladies is currently in a league below ours, so we will not be facing each other this season, but I look forward to facing her sometime in the future.
Having quit the Indian Women's team to continue your studies, are you open to making a return to the team in the future?
I will be happy to play for India again if the team needs me and they call me back.
The rise of the English women's team was seen at the recently concluded World Cup. Your thoughts on the timing of the move, considering the increased attention and spotlight on the women's game in England.
I was following the Women's World Cup very closely and it was incredible that the England team achieved what they did during the World Cup finals.
However, since I am doing my Masters project on Women's football in England, I have come cross a lot of facts about the FA and the efforts and money they have spent to develop women's football from the grassroots program to the elite level. I can say that it's been a very well-planned progression and investment that led them to achieve the bronze medal.
Which are the players you look up to in the football world, and who would you call your role model in the women's game?
I like Hope Solo and Cristine Rampone, both who are members of the United States Women’s National Team. I also admire the way England captain Steph Houghton has led the team over these past years and now the Manchester City team too.
What was your motivation behind becoming a goalkeeper and what was it about the position that fascinated you and made you take up the gloves?
I used to play basketball in school which probably developed my goalkeeping skills and gradually I realised that I was better as a goalkeeper than in any other position. Although I am a goalkeeper, I love to play as a striker sometimes, just for fun.