The 18 girls on the Yuwa Supergoats have been playing soccer together since 2009. They come from five different neighbouring villages in Jharkhand, the Indian state with some of the highest rates of child marriage, female illiteracy, and human trafficking. These 18 girls were chosen from more than 150 girls who attend Yuwa practices daily. They were selected based on their excellent practice and Yuwa class attendance, their values as ranked by their fellow teammates, and their intensity on the soccer field.
The Supergoats shatter the stereotypes of what it means to be a teenage girl in their villages. Instead of wearing traditional salwar kameez suits, they do their housework in jerseys and shorts. Instead of dropping out of school to get married, they focus on their education and attend additional classes at Yuwa everyday. Instead of dropping their gaze and mumbling, they have the confidence to look people in the eyes and introduce themselves. The girls on the Supergoats team has an outstanding work ethic: they practice five days a week because they love the game. They save their money to purchase subsidized cleats and balls from Yuwa.
Last year, Yuwa had a chance to send the Supergoats to two tournaments in Spain: the Donosti Cup and the Gasteiz Cup, thanks to the fundraising efforts of a group of Spanish students. The girls faced repeated abuse from the local government officials when they tried to get their birth certificates to get their passports, but their persistence paid off when national Indian media caught wind of the story. In Spain, the U-14 Supergoats made it to the quarter finals. At the Gasteiz Cup, they placed 3rd. The girls' victories in Spain, despite facing bigger and stronger opponents, became a media sensation when they returned to India.
This year there have been four player changes on the team, but is otherwise the same team that competed in Spain. The Yuwa staff have been trying not to build up the girls' hopes about Schwan's USA CUP in case funding fell through, but they are still extremely excited about the possibility of competing in the USA.
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