The campaign, 'Press Play', which is part of UEFA's initiative 'Together #WePlayStrong' focuses on the lifestyle of four women footballers; Scotland International and Arsenal forward Lisa Evans, German striker Eunice Beckmann who plays at FC Basel in Switzerland, and Austrian international duo Sarah Zadrazil and Laura Feiersinger who are currently at German clubs FFC Turbine Potsdam and SC Sand respectively.
The Drum spoke with all four players to find out more about the campaign.
What is the reason for your association with such a campaign?
Lisa Evans: Football is a huge part of my life but I’m glad we can show people what it takes to be a professional player: from training to match days to diet and fitness, and it’s fantastic to have an opportunity to hopefully inspire girls to pick up a ball and just have fun with the sport.
There are two sides to this series; we’re also excited to show girls that even as professional players, we do have other hobbies and interests. A common misconception is that if you’re a footballer, then that’s all you do, but we have very full lives outside of football and it will be great to demonstrate that football can fit into your life, whatever you’re interested in.
Sarah Zadrazil: Despite living in different countries, we all try to keep in touch as much as possible, and it will be great for girls to see how close we all are thanks to the sport, and give an insight into football in Switzerland, Germany and England in the process!
It’s a project unlike anything UEFA has done before and we’re excited to be pioneers in inspiring more girls and women to play and keep playing football.
Do you think social media has a strong influence in football?
Laura Feiersinger: Football should be accessible to everyone – regardless of age, race, ability or circumstance. Showing the series on Youtube enables us to reach such a wide audience, on a platform that we know appeals to girls and adults of all ages. It’s going to be a lot of fun interacting with our fans in this way too, and hopefully gaining some new ones.
Eunice Beckmann: This platform also enables us to share the episodes easily across our own social channels, giving our followers a completely new insight into who we are as players and people. Social media has become a huge part of being a football fan and day-to-day life in general, so it’s interesting that this is the first time a series like this has been made. We’re excited that it’s so unique and original.
You think more brands and sponsors should come forward to support women football?
Sarah Zadrazil: For us this series is about encouraging girls to get involved in a sport that has so many positive aspects to it in terms of health, both mental and physical, and socially. That’s the first step, and an important one: encouraging and inspiring girls to play. We’ve already started to see a major shift in popularity and interest in the women’s game, particularly after the UEFA Women’s EURO and the launch of the Together #WePlayStrong' campaign, which aims to make football the number one women's participation sport across Europe within five years.
Eunice Beckmann: The focus is on growing participation to achieve this, focussing on three key pillars that showcase the best of the game: skill, togetherness and positive attitude. If we can build a strong foundation then brands and sponsors will naturally follow. UEFA of course recently unbundled the sponsorship rights for women’s competitions, and this series will serve as another strong digital asset that will hopefully attract more investment and funding for the women’s game.”
Is the gender gap closing down in the sports industry?
Laura Feiersinger: I can’t really comment on other sports and I suppose certain sports will be at different levels of equality, like other industries. What I can say is that UEFA has been hugely supportive of equality both with their Equal Game campaign and Together #WePlayStrong. It’s also encouraging to see so many professional players wanting to get involved and support the campaign from the front line.
Lisa Feiersinger: In fact, we’ve already been told that other players from across Europe are wanting to get in on the blog so that should keep the four of us motivated to keeping our audience entertained! There’s room for us all of course and we would be delighted to see it grow. It feels like we’ve started something really exciting here.
‘Press Play’ will be a weekly series which can be watched on UEFA’s #WePlayStrong YouTube channel. The Drum earlier spoke with UEFA marketing boss who spoke about taking inspiration from This Girl Can to change 'uncool' image of women's football.