Football means the world to Mayuri Morey. From playing the Denver Cup in USA to representing Mumbai at the State level, her love for football has led her around the world.
Mayuri started playing football at the age of 16. Later that year, she went for a football summer camp and was inspired by the more experienced players. “I wanted to play like them and maybe beat them. That was probably the time I started thinking about football competitively.”
Commitment takes her places
A coach in the same camp spotted Mayuri’s natural ability and recommended she attend a 10-day football camp organised by Steadfast Sports Academy in Mumbai. “The drills we were taught there were fascinating because I had never seen that before. I started practicing regularly from there on.”
That was the start of three memorable years at Steadfast FC but it wasn’t the start she expected. “Initially, I didn’t get to play a lot of games. I used to get up every day at 4 a.m. just for football, even though all it meant was sitting on the bench and clapping for others.”
Her commitment paid off and she soon worked her way up the ranks and was picked up by Rush Soccer, Mumbai, who had a tie-up with Mayuri’s first club, Steadfast FC.
Playing the Denver Cup
When she turned up for her first practice session at Rush, she found out she was the lone girl in the batch. “I wasn’t going to miss training because of that. I played with the boys and I believe that had a positive impact on my game. I had played a lot of football in India with girls and sometimes the intensity used to drop. With boys, it is never the case. I became even more competitive and never wanted to give the ball away.”
By the year 2014, Mayuri was not only skilful but had developed the temperament to play professional football. She was selected to train with Rush Colorado in USA for a period of two months. There she played the Denver Cup as well. “I was travelling abroad for the first time and that too playing football. The food was different but the quality of football I noticed in those local teams just inspired me to keep raising my game. It made me mentally tough because the brand of football played there was rough.”
Overcoming injuries to return
A period of injuries followed but that did not stop Mayuri from playing. A period of recovery followed, and she was forced to take a break from football. “I think you’re always going get injured no matter how hard you try. But I never just sat back and left everything. Even if I took a rest for three days, there was football in my mind always. I thought about the game a lot.”
After a complete return to fitness, Mayuri’s passion and hard-work was rewarded with a place in the MDFA women’s team that participated in the Maharashtra State Inter-District women’s tournament. Getting into the prestigious side was a great feeling for Mayuri but her aims are higher.
With age on her side and her commitment towards football, the spirited 20-year-old hopes for another move, this time into the national squad. “I want to play for India. There is a part of me that definitely believes I can make it to the National Team.” Her journey teaches us that if we are passionate about something, we can succeed no matter the situation.