Dufka's Spring Break Update
March 23, 2012
SEATTLE - Faustine Dufka is a redshirt junior on our women's soccer team. Her mother, Marie-Pierre Carlotti, is French-born and Faustine is spending time with her maternal grandmother over spring break and exploring possible playing opportunities after her final season next fall. Faustine is a Medical Anthropology major, an Honors student who carries a 3.75+ G.P.A. and attended high school at the International School in San Francisco where she did her academic work in French. Read Faustine's post below.
I am finally in Paris after having spent a week in the countryside at my grandmother's house. She lives in a tiny village of several hundred inhabitants where everyone knows one another and stops to chat on the sidewalk. It's definitely a whole different world, but everyone I met was welcoming and surprised at my nearly perfect French, since to them I was "The American" in town for a week. Needless to say, there was no Wi-Fi network to join, and although it was relaxing to unplug for a few days, after a whole week without phone or Internet I am quite happy to be back "on the grid".
The local soccer field was a quick five minute walk from my grandma's house, as were the tiny supermarket, drugstore, and corner store--the only businesses in town. Arriving at the field, I was pleasantly surprised by the presence of four full-sized goals, but after a quick warm-up across the field, I found myself dearly missing our lovely facilities! Picture these fields: mainly mud, gopher holes, and the occasional patch of grass--in other words, `How to roll an ankle in five days!' Fortunately I made it through the week injury-free, but barely. The last day my calves were begging for a change of surface, and thankfully I had discovered a wall on an abandoned parking lot that would be my friend for the remainder of the week...I never thought I would find myself saying I missed turf, but here I was, dreaming of being back on the East End with the Dawgs!
Although this tiny village in France is no Brazilian favela by any means, training there for a week had the same effect on me as our trip to Brazil a few summers ago. I came away feeling like the luckiest person on earth to be able to play the beautiful game on pristine fields, with new cleats, soccer balls, and pinnies each season, surrounded by the best coaching staff in the country. We are truly blessed for the opportunities we have, especially as young women. In so many places in the world, including France, soccer has not been a game girls are supposed to play. Although things are starting to change here, especially after France's performance in the women's World Cup last summer, they are changing slowly. The looks I got while I was carrying around my soccer ball made me feel like I was a stranger from a far away planet. As I was told by the flight attendant on my trip over to France, not many girls read "l'Équipe," the daily French soccer newspaper.
This week, I will be training with the Paris St. Germain (PSG) women's team. I'm sure I will have many stories to tell after this experience, which I am both excited and slightly nervous about! Despite having traveled to France summer after summer while growing up, I have never actually played soccer "in French"! However, I'm sure these fears will dissipate the moment I step onto the field, because after all, soccer is the universal language....
More updates soon! A bientot!