#DelhiMoves Fitness

In Delhi, a football community for women

A photo of the group after one of their morning sessions

A photo of the group after one of their morning sessions   | Photo Credit: By arrangement


This group of female footballers gets together every Saturday for a great start to the weekend

There is slight nip in the air. The dewdrops glistening on the turf are smothered under the football as it rolls out on the field. There’s a pause. Sonam Taneja, 32, is waiting for her 50-year-old teammate to throw in the football.

This is a common site at a commercially run AstroTurf field in Vasant Kunj. Every Saturday morning, women of all ages get together to learn football. Each game accommodates about 12 to 15 people who are coached by a licensed professional on the drills and the intricacies of one of the most popular games in the world.

Sonam, a lawyer and food safety policy professional, who was looking to spice up her fitness routine started this initiative. The aim was to learn a new skill and have some fun along the way. She first reached out to her circle on WhatsApp. “It was heart-warming to know that I wasn’t the only one looking to play. At our first game 10 women turned up,” she says.

Arranging a game was easy for Sonam since her husband runs Hudle, an app that lets you curate sports events and book venues. Today, with four games in, the group functions the same way, except now it’s open to the public (look for beginners’ football coaching for women). There are no restrictions on age as long as you are over 16 years old. The amount payable per person is calculated on the basis of number of people playing. Usually it is about ₹400-500. This includes the cost of the coach, venue booking and equipment.

Each session starts with a warm-up followed by drills. The teams then play against each other before cooling down with some stretches. “Initially players who sign up for the game are hesitant because they have never played the game before. Once they realise that everyone’s a beginning, it gets easier. People playing have come to learn. We encourage each other through the game,” says Sonam. She hopes that this women’s football group grows so that one day they can play tournaments.

“I joined this group to get active again. I am a social person and group activities energize me. The fact that I get to meet new people, learn a skill that uses physical strength and mental strategy is a great bonus,” says Shweta Berry, who is in her 40s and has played all the games with the group.

Saturday mornings are more than just a workout. They offer a sense of belonging, a break from a routine and an opportunity to make new connections. Sonam also plans to expand the group to other areas of Delhi/NCR.

The next game is at Tricky Taka, Green Avenue, Vasant Kunj; on November 16; from 7:30 to 9 a.m.; log on to the Hudle app or write to contact@hudle.in

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:38:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fitness/in-delhi-a-football-community-for-women/article29953416.ece

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