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материал 2010 годаA Poetic Soccer Player
Alina Horobets is an athlete, one of a great many women
athletes in Ukraine, but there are just a few women who practice her
sport — she plays futsal mini-soccer. The leading futsal experts who
make their opinion known at futsalplanet.com, the most respected
Internet site devoted to futsal soccer, called her the world’s best
woman futsal soccer player of 2009.
Alina Horobets, 24,(Issue 2010) hails from the little town of
Kotsyubynske, not far from Kyiv. She plays for the Bilychanka-93 futsal
soccer club, a many-times champion of Ukraine. It was Ms Horobets, a
good looking, slim young woman with a charming smile and sparkling eyes,
who has contributed a great deal to her club’s victories. Alina is also
a member of Ukrainian national team which ranks eighth among women’s
teams, with Brazil being at the top.
Maryna GUDZEVATA, WU senior editor, met Ms Horobets at
the award-presentation ceremony, during which the soccer player received
a prize for her contribution to the development of soccer at schools.
When asked for an interview, Ms Horobets kindly and modestly agreed to
Let me, first of all, congratulate you on your prize. Was it something that you expected to earn?
No, it was a pleasant surprise. Futsal soccer is not yet
a very popular sport in Ukraine, compared, say, to Spain or Brazil
where it is very popular indeed. It really came as something quite
unexpected when I learnt that I had been pronounced the best woman
futsal player of 2009.
If I did not know that you were a soccer player I’d
never guess you are an athlete! You do not look what I would expect a
soccer player to look!
I’ve been playing soccer for many years, and most of the
people I socialize with are soccer players and coaches, and I’ve never
actually thought what a woman soccer player is expected to look like.
When I meet people outside the circle of athletes involved in playing
soccer, they are usually surprised to learn that I play soccer
professionally. However, for some reason, they never disbelieve me and
start asking questions.
You said you’d been playing soccer for many years. When did you actually start?
I was a second grader in school when a friend of mine
once said she was attending a hobby sports group where she played
soccer, and she liked it. She invited me to join her — and I did. It
proved to be a momentous decision.
(At this point, Ms Horobets’ coach, Volodymyr Kolok, joined the conversation)
Mr Kolok: I remember the moment I saw her for the first
time very well. She did not look athletic, to put it mildly, but she did
have that special I-dare-you look in her eyes. I thought I’d test her
and she proved to have a lot of potential. It was at that time that
futsal started to gain in popularity in our town and Alina was a fitting
candidate for a member of a soccer team.
She was indeed a tomboy — she liked climbing trees and
do risky bike stunts riding downhill. When she started sport training
regularly, she made a quick progress.
(Back to Alina) Was it difficult to combine training, playing soccer and studies at school?
No, it was not. There was no problem for me to find time both for school, home assignments and my sport.
Did your parents support your decision to do a sport which is rather unusual for girls to go into?
They did not discourage me. Probably at first they did
not think it would be something that I’d be doing in my adult life, but
seeing that I went on training, year in year out, they must have
realized it was really a serious involvement, and they gave me all the
support they could. Futsal soccer became an unalienable part of my life.
Did you keep count of the goals you scored?
No, I did not! There were too many! Mr Kolok did try to
do it but in seventeen years that I’ve been in soccer, I’ve scored too
many goals to remember. But of course there were goals that I do keep in
Is the climate in your club supportive?
Very much so. We are a team, and we act and support each
other as members of a team should. We are good friends too. We spend so
much time together during training and then we socialize too, going to
each other’s homes and meeting socially. My best friend is the captain
of my team. When the girls learnt that I’d been pronounced the best
soccer player they cheered so much! But it was thanks to them that I’d
become the best!
Mr Kolok: I’m very happy to be coaching a team like
that. The girls are ambitious, hard working, many of them study at
college, they have no bad habits, they are leading a very healthy
lifestyle. I’d say they are an example to follow! And Alina is not only a
player — she also does some coaching work too!
Alina: Yes, I do that too. I began to help Mr Kolok in
his training work when I was in the eleventh grade, but later I
graduated into becoming a coach in my own right. I’ve been a coach for
seven years now and some of the girls who have trained under me, have
achieved very good results. In fact some of the girls have joined the
Ukrainian national team I am a member of!
What is your number-one sport ambition?
To play at the Olympic Games! But first women’s futsal
soccer must become an Olympic sport. I do hope it will be given the
status of an Olympic event. Unfortunately, the next Olympic games in
2012 will not have women’s futsal soccer on its agenda.
Neither are there world or European championships held
in women’s futsal soccer. There are all sorts of tournaments and
friendlies that are played in various countries but official world or
European championships would be quite a different matter. Championships
of Latin America and Asia are held — why not the world or European?
Ukraine has its women’s national team but we do not have an opportunity
to play in important official championships!
Last year we went to Iran to play a friendly there. The
Iranian women’s futsal team was getting ready for the Asian championship
and they thought it would be a valuable experience for them to have our
team as a sparring partner because they admitted we were better than
they. The Iranian side footed our bills. It took us some time to get
acclimatized and we lost the first two games but won the third with an
overwhelming score in our favor. And I can tell you that the sportswear
which the Iranians provided us with, and which we were obliged to wear
on the pitch, hampered free movement and created additional problems for
us. The thing is that the first two games were played in the absence of
fans with only a few men — actually Ukrainian men who had come with us
to Iran — allowed to be present at the game, and the third game was to
be televised, so the Iranians made us wear what they gave us — shirts
with long sleeves, long pants and headdresses that were similar to the
kind our nuns wear. Don’t forget that Iran is a Muslim country with
Muslim attitudes to women and women’s appearance in public… In spite of
these small nuisances, we saw that it was the Iranian government that
provided support and financing even for such an exotic sport as women’s
futsal soccer. I wish the Ukrainian government would be more caring… But
the sportswear we were given in Iran has come in handy later too — we
put it on when we play against men’s teams in the tournament Kubok
vyklyku (Challenege Cup) which is regularly held thanks to our coach…
My club Belychanka went to Portugal two years ago to
take part in the Nations’ Cup tournament. Several national teams and
clubs were invited. We did not win the tournament but we were the
fourth. I think the overall result was quite a good one for us,
especially considering many disadvantages — compared to other
participants — that we were encumbered by. Incidentally, among the teams
we routed was the US national team.
Mr Kolok: there’s one point I’d like to make clear here —
our girls are professional futsal players but they play amateur
football because they are not paid for their play. If we had more of
official tournaments here in Ukraine and on the international arena,
then the popularity of futsal would grow and that could bring desirable
changes. Mini-Soccer is an exacting and dynamic game. It is mostly
played indoors and thus it is not affected by weather. During the game
itself, the rules forbid any bodily contact of opponents, and thus there
are very few injuries compared to "full-sized” football. Futsal is an
ideal sport for women. Like in hockey, substitutes can be regularly
introduced during the game and it makes it not so tiring.
Now, an inevitable question — Ms Horobets, what do you do apart from training and playing soccer?
I deliver lectures on social issues such as smoking,
alcohol and drug abuse, healthy life-styles at school. I like traveling
for fun rather than because of necessity. In the past few years, I went
both in summer and in winter to the Carpathian Mountains. I love the
air, the sights, the whole atmosphere there. Skiing in winter and hikes
in summer are great experiences!
Of the European countries I’ve been to I was
particularly impressed by Germany and Austria. European culture is
something that we must have too — and not only in the big culture sense
but also in everyday life, in the way people treat each other. In
Austria, when I took walks, I could not help having a feeling that I was
strolling through a history book. Both in the buildings and the people I
could see the great civilizing impact of the European culture. People
have dignity and self-respect, things we should strive for in Ukraine… I
write verses and regularly attend church too…
Any plans for the nearest future?
Training, playing soccer, traveling to places where
futsal games are played to watch them and to support our men’s futsal
team… I have no plans yet to marry and to have children. I’m waiting for
the right person. I believe that each of us has "a half” and when I
meet my significant other I will know it, and then my soccer will not be
an obstacle to living a happy family life… And I’m planning to publish a
book of my poems.