To celebrate FIFA Live Your Goals Week, which encourages more women to get involved with football, we thought we'd get Wellington Phoenix fan Jo Moar to tell us why she loves the game and watching the Nix.
I grew up in a household of girls - a family where sport involvement really wasn’t really encouraged. My only active sport involvement was my horse and the odd game here and there of college 'soccer'. I got to substitute the goalkeeper and played in borrowed boots.
That all changed in my late teens, when I moved to Hamilton for Polytech. My boyfriend at the time played football for Ngaruawahia and I became a footballer’s girlfriend. I got immersed more into the game and because my boyfriend, and my best friend, supported Liverpool, I supported Liverpool.
I spend some years as a ‘soccer mum’, but these days my boys are all grown up and now I can really enjoy the things in life that I haven’t done for a while. One of those things is football. After a year of being able to watch some of the local games at the Cake Tin (rather than watch them on the telly), I got hooked and I became a Gold season pass member of the Wellington Phoenix for 2015/2016, which I’ve renewed this season. I also joined both the Official Liverpool Supporters Club and the New Zealand Liverpool Supporters Club as well.
So what draws me to football? There’s just something different about the game and the atmosphere compared to the sombre seriousness of a rugby match. When you walk into the stadium, along with all the other supporters dressed in their yellow and black shirts, scarves, caps or beanies, carrying flags and banners, piling through the turnstiles - then you realise that it’s all about spirit and passion. It’s all about the dedication and the love of ‘the beautiful game’.
I’m pretty much on the edge of my seat (or not on my seat at all) through the entire game. Cheering the lads on (or grumbling under my breath if something doesn’t go right) and almost losing my voice when we score a goal. I’m shouting advice to each of the players hoping that they hear me, but knowing that they don’t - they are too busy concentrating. My heart drops to my stomach each time we get close enough to score and when we do, I’m there with everyone else as the stadium erupts in joy and a thunderous noise of approval. I’m there in good weather and bad. I’m the one with the bright yellow poncho raincoat sitting down the front getting drenched, so I can get as close to the action as possible. And in the middle of it all, I’m taking photos and loading comments and updates to the Wellington Phoenix Supporters Group on Facebook. See I’m a woman – I can multitask lol.
And it’s the same when I’m out and about watching away games. Just because I’m not seeing the team in person, doesn’t mean I don’t have the passion. I fight for a spot at 4 Kings, as close to the big screen as I can be as close as I can without actually being there. Whether it’s 9.30 at night to watch our Phoenix boys take on Oz or 7am on a work day to watch my beloved Reds. I’m pretty lucky to have a manager who doesn’t mind me being late for work now and again, because he knows how much I enjoy my football.
And when I’m not watching football I’m now involved in football, having joined Wellington United AFC this year as Assistant Manager to the Rubies (Womens 3), who ended up being promoted for next season. And now I’m going to also be managing a team for Tuesday Twilight league. At our end of season party, I got presented with my own set of boots from all the girls as a thank you for my support and dedication to the team. I guess there is no excuse now not to get fit enough to play (or at least help coach).