Ready for the big Kick-off

Aishwarya Vittal Nayak might be an odd ball! Unlike other girls and undaunted by her background, this thirteen-year-old aspires to be a professional soccer player and if her records are anything to go by, then she is sure heading down that road!

An 8th grade KARV student, she loves her school and credits her teachers and coach Samad, for identifying her talent and encouraging her to play football.  Says Aishwarya, while trying to suppress a laugh “I still remember the day I was selected to play football. One morning post assembly, our coach made us all stand in a line and run to the other end of the field and then pointed at a few of us to step out. And that was it.  To my credit, I can say I was a good athlete, had good stamina and just loved sports. But I had no inkling about football, never seen a match and was totally clueless about what to do with the ball when we lined up on the field!”

But that was a long time ago. Today she plays football like a pro and follows the game and craft of players like Alex Morgan, Meghan Rapinoe, Sam Kerr and Oinam Bemben Devi; but her all-time favorite is “who else but Neymar, Neymar, Neymar!” confirms Aishwarya with great enthusiasm.

Aishwarya’s mother, Venkatamma, got her enrolled at KARV when the child was ready for LKG because she was working as an attendant in the school and apart from the convenience of coming and going together, she was sure her daughter would get  good education. 

“I am glad she is playing football and ball badminton because apart from her loving it, she has always been athletic and hyper active with a will of her own, and this sport channelizes all that for a good cause. I only have one expectation from her and that is, she should not neglect her studies because of the game. So far she has not disappointed me.”

Aishwarya who is the youngest of three kids, says she gets her way most of the times because her father, (who apart from working as a car driver also works as a farm hand) is seldom at home and she knows how to win over her mother especially when she wants to go for her matches. Elaborates the young soccer celebrity “I am happiest when I am on the field and my best memories are of the time we went for the Nationals in Bangalore. And while it was a good experience, it still breaks my heart when I think that we ended as runners up, because despite it having been a well fought match, we lost to Pune by one goal – the penalty goal!  I could not even enjoy the flight (my very first one) back home because I was crying all the way!”

She confesses her cousins and neighbors tease her for playing football but her parents and particularly her elder brother encourages her with small tips on how to improve her game. Aishwarya hopes to play for the country and is praying that some Club will soon sponsor her to make this dream come true.

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