• Alexa Pereira

What Does Football Mean To Me

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

Today I wanted to talk about something I’ve never written before. Football. My story with football goes back from when I was a little girl. Both my uncles and Dad were massively into football and they played in their local team. My mum’s friend used to play for the local women’s team and we used to go watch it on Sunday mornings.

My last time at Estádio da Luz, Benfica’s home last year

I’ve always been an SL Benfica supporter, except that one time when I was little and pretended I was a Sporting CP (it’s not Sporting Lisbon) fan just so my godfather could take me to go see a match in a football stadium. This was the first time I’d ever been to a big stadium.

I still remember the first time my Dad took me to the Luz. I was about 9 years old and it was raining loads. It was a Classico – Benfica Vs Porto. We lost 0-1, Jardel scored. Even though we lost and I was soaked, I loved it.

Moving to Liverpool, meant that I was then supporting what is now my second team at heart, Liverpool FC. I have a lot to thank my friend Paige, who took me to Anfield plenty of times. The first time I went it was only just 2/3 weeks after I moved to the UK. It was brilliant.

Mandatory picture of The Kop a few years ago, on a European night

There’s something special about this city and football. This year’s Champions League final was one of the most incredible days I’ve ever had. If not weekend. The city went mad before, during and after the game. It was such a great atmosphere. And the Champions parade was just something else. I have lived here for 7 years and never had I seen the city that busy.

Champions League parade in Liverpool

Being into football it’s like being part of a community. For 90 minutes, you kind of forget about everything else, to literally see 22 men running after a ball – as a few people have described it. You feel like, even though you’re at home, you’re at the stadium in that same atmosphere. It brings people from all backgrounds together. And I feel like it’s hard to explain to those who are not into football, like most of my girl friends.

This is especially hard for me because it means that not only do I not have another girl I can talk to about football, I don’t have anyone to go to the pub with me to watch the football or is as interested as me about doing something football-related. Most of the time they make plans for times the football is on, and I always feel like I can’t cancel or postpone if the football is on because they’re not into it.

Champions League game last year in Anfield

This mostly ends up with me having to try and convince them to go watch an important match with me (and then me explaining the rules to them mid-game) Btw girls, I love you and I’m not complaining! You’re the best for the number of times you put up with that the past year.

On Sunday I had the opportunity to watch the first-ever Liverpool Women’s game in Anfield. I convinced one of the girls to come with me. I wanted to go to a few more games but I don’t feel comfortable doing these kinds of things on my own, so I was really happy when she told me she would come, back in September, before we even knew the game was going to be held in Anfield.

I was so excited about it that the day before I was planning the itinerary. What time to arrive, where I was going to take her. Everything. I’m fortunate to have been to a few Liverpool games in Anfield in the past and I’ve also done the stadium tour about 3 times. (Think it’s time to get back again haha), so sharing this experience with someone who, up until last years didn’t like football is incredible. More so because she actually enjoyed it!

Me and my friend Bethan outside of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s mural in Anfield, pre-match

Another thing that literally warmed my heart and made me so happy was the number of little girls and boys that were at the game and the excitement on their faces. For some, that was the very first time they had been to Anfield. During the game, you could hear some shout “Liverpool” with their little scouse accents and was too cute for me to handle.

Unfortunately, the match ended in a loss (1-0 to Everton) but the girls did us proud. 23k people turned up, which was way more than I ever thought it could be. I’m glad that women’s football is getting more and more fans and that these women can inspire little girls to follow their dreams too.

Here’s to many more football games!

#football #sports

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