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04 Jan 2019
“I try to be a role model for all the girls that want to be beach soccer players”
Interview with Marina Fedorova, 2018's Best Women's Player in the World
When one thinks about the best beach soccer player in the world, few would think on a city like Sevastopol. But when you start understanding the amount of football running through her veins, you begin to understand where does Marina Fedorova’s stunning talent come from. Russian international in three different modalities, Marina has amazed the world every time she has hit the sand. After climbing to the highest place in women’s beach soccer this year, she sat with BAREFOOT to discuss how she sees herself within the sport.
- What did you feel when you heard your name as the best player in the world?
- Those were amazing emotions. To be in the top-3 was already very exciting. And when I heard my name, I felt so happy…I did not expect it!. I was very nervous before the ceremony, but when I heard my name, I felt a big relief. It was amazing to be be on the same stage with the best beach soccer players in the world. At that moment I stopped worrying and started enjoying the moment.
- How do you see your role in the development of women’s beach soccer? What is the role you can play?
- I love beach soccer and obviously I want our sport to develop. I believe the better we perform, the more girls will pay attention to beach soccer and will want to try it. I’m always ready to help other girls to know more about the details of the game, I try to give advice every now and then. I try to be a role model for those who want to try beach soccer.
- What were your firs steps in beach soccer?
- I first started playing beach soccer in my hometown Sevastopol when I was 10 years old. We were living on the seashore, so in summer time we were training and playing beach soccer all day and all night. Just like in Brazil (smiles). My dad is a football coach, he made a team with his own kids and taught us to play football and beach soccer. I also have an older brother and two younger ones. I believe that I achieved what I achieved because of training with them and with the boys in general. In 2014 my father got a team called Olympic. We went to the Russian women's championship and won gold medals right away. That was my first serious beach soccer tournament.
- Your brother Ostap is also a great player, and was named best player of the past Alanya Cup. Is there a competition between you two to see who’s best?
- There is no competition at all. On the contrary, we support each other and are happy for each other’s success. Although sometimes we joke about each other, but in a kind way, of course. I am very glad that Ostap is progressing, he got into the Russian national team. When he received the MVP prize of the tournament in Turkey, I told him that now we need to set the next goal and become the best players in the world. We joked that it would be great if I was standing on the stage in Dubai not with Llorenç, but with him (laughs). But seriously, my reward has become an additional motivation for him, he wants to work even harder to level my achievement (smiles).
- Who was the first to try beach soccer?
- We did it pretty much the same time. Ostap was 12 then and I was 10.
- Do you train together sometimes?
- We used to train together all the time. Now it does not happen that often, but when we are at home at the same time, we still train together and keep ourselves in shape. Several times I came to him for training and practiced with his team. I like to train with Ostap, because it's always fun. We have some of our exercises and contests. For example, whoever hits the crossbar more than once wins. Or whoever holds the ball in the air longer. Usually we make a bet and whoever wins gets an ice-cream. Who wins more? Me of course! (smiles).
- You are also one of the best football players in the country. What are the main differences you feel between playing regular football and beach soccer?
- It seems to me that in beach soccer the role of one particular player is much more relevant. In regular football it is tough to get through the whole field on your own. In beach soccer you get more chances to shoot, to score. I like to show my individual skills, help my team and play beautifully. I don’t think that normal football and beach soccer are radically different, although, of course, each has its own characteristics. I have not decided which one I like more. I just love football in all its manifestations.
- What is what you like most about beach soccer?
- I really like the atmosphere around the competition. Beach soccer tournaments always take place in nice sunny places, near the sea or the ocean. There is always music playing. And of course beach soccer itself is fantastic, there are many acrobatic elements and spectacular goals.
- Tell us a little bit about your life… How is it to live in Moscow for a football player?
- As I have mentioned I’m from Sevastopol originally and my home is there. But now I live in the airplanes because I have a very busy schedule of competitions. I play for three Russian national teams at the same time: regular football, beach soccer and futsal. It's hard to be on the road all the time, but I got used to it already. Moreover, I fully understand why I need to travel so much and be away from home. I like to play football, and I am glad that now I have this opportunity. When I get a chance to come home, I spend time with my family and friends, but at the same time I continue to train under my father’s guidance.
- What do you do besides football? Are you studying/working?
- I understand the significance of higher education and I am planning to get a degree in coaching. In addition, I am now intensively learning English to make it easier to communicate with people abroad. As a child I didn’t understand how important this was, so now I’m trying to catch up. Hopefully, I wil be able to to make simple phrases at least and understand people I talk to in English really soon.
- How do you see your future in beach soccer?
- I am only 21 years old, so I don’t really think about the future. All my thoughts and aspirations are now connected with sports anyways. If we talk specifically about beach soccer, I would like to continue playing for the Russian national team and win all the tournaments we participate in. Next year we have to defend our title as European champions, as well as make our way to the World Beach Games and play in San Diego. If we talk about more global goals, I would like beach soccer to be included in the Olympic program and then play represent Russia at the Olympics. What year can this happen? Let's hope for Paris 2024… Well worst case scenario, we’ll fill in sand somewhere near the Eiffel Tower and start playing! (smiles).