|The novel (left) Valerie Gin (top right) and Jo Kadlecek (bottom right)|
Q: Start with the basics, why do you love soccer so much?
In high school, because of Title IX, like Val I joined the basketball and volleyball teams. Val went on to play college volleyball and basketball.
When I got to college, I joined the club women’s soccer team and LOVED everything about: being outside, the smell of freshly cut grass, the creative way the game is played, the decisions each player has to make as the ball moves around, and of course, the physical demands it required.
I’m not surprised soccer is the “world’s favorite game”: your size, economic status or language skills don’t matter. You just need a ball and a pitch! I love the easy accessibility it offers to any one who wants to play!
(Title lX is an American law passed in 1972 that requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding; including sports)
Q: In your novel the 1983 team is coached by a man, and the modern team by a woman. Does this reflect the changes you see today?
But the primary reason we chose to create these two characters was to show that both women and men helped foster these new opportunities for women athletes—and still do. Sure, some men don’t support women sports but many do. We wanted WHEN GIRLS BECAME LIONS to convey that reality.
Besides, we both have had important men in our lives who believed in us as athletes and coaches, just as we’ve had many women role models who coach as well.
Q: You live in Australia now, home of the Matildas and come from America, what support do you see now for women in soccer?
Still, I’m told the game is wildly popular for young women but it’s not easy in a country that’s dominated by male sports—as Australia is.
I do think the family support has become much stronger in both countries from my own time as a player because the health and character benefits of team sports and athletic exercise have been reinforced so much that athletics are more acceptable, encouraged even.
SO it’s an exciting time for female athletes and we’re hoping our novel conveys a small portion of that that while also inspiring more sports novels for women!
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