Batya has been living in California since 10 months. At this age she was adopted by the wife of Raisel, so she turned out to be in the USA. Can you tell about your family?
My family is very supportive of my decisions to play football in Kazakhstan. I have an older sister who attends university in Edinburgh Scotland and I get to see her a few times a year. My parents (my father James Whittington and my Mother Stephanie Bagully), love watching me play football and cheering for my teammates.
Why did you choose soccer, most people think that it isn’t a womans game?
Soccer (football) is very much a women’s sport in the United States and there is a lot of support for young girls to learn how to play. I love the sport because anyone can play and the whole world plays soccer.
We know that from the age of 8 you started playing football at the Los Angeles Galaxy Academy in California and played for the midfield and forward position in Los Angeles Galaxy San Diego. At the age of14, you got the opportunity to return to Kazakhstan, for the first time since adoption. Has received a call to the national women’s national team of Kazakhstan on football U-16 to participate in the training camp, which was held in Shymkent. Then in late April 2016 she participated in the UEFA tournament in Skopje, in Macedonia, as part of the Kazakhstan national team, playing with the teams of Ukraine, Lithuania, Macedonia. In mid-August 2017 in Minsk, she played in the UEFA Development Cup among women’s youth teams under 17 years as an attacker with Montenegro and Belarus. In late September, participated in the junior national team of Kazakhstan U-17 in Denmark in the qualifying tournament of the European Championship-2018. Why did you choose Kazakhstan?
Kazakhstan is my country of birth and my parents have raised me with a strong pride in Kazakhstan. I wanted to know more to about Kazakhstan, and my playing soccer for Kazakhstan was a perfect way to do that. I have made many friends with the girls from the Kazakhstan teams and I am very lucky to have the opportunity to get to play on the field with these amazing girls. We have become close and I am very proud to be representing Kazakhstan.
Have you ever seen Kazakhstan’s soccer before? Whom of football player of Kazakhstan can you choose?
I watch the Biik Kazygurt team and they are my favorite. They play good football and they are a strong team. I would like to play for them someday. I have met a few of the players and I follow a few of them on Instagram.
Who is your favorite Soccer player?
My favorite player of all time is Abby Wambach. I have a picture of her on my wall in my bedroom. She was a strong player who could lead her team to championships.
What is your favourite Football club?
For men’s clubs I like Barcelona because of Messi. He is a smart player that has never let his size stop him from being the best. For women’s team I like Biik Kazygurt because they have been very strong in the champions league in UEFA and I hope they can someday win a championship. It was. As luck that they drew Leon in the final 16, because Biik was stronger than other teams in the 16, but Leon was just a bad draw for them to have.
If compare between California and Kazakhstan training of soccer players what kind of advantages and disadvantages do you see?
In California girls start training in soccer at age of 5. There are many coaches from England and some played at high levels in England. Also in California girls train all year and take very few breaks. We have training 4 days a week every week. In Kazakhstan there should be more support for girls soccer and I think that is changing and there seems to be more people who are excited about girls soccer. I read the web site for Kazakhstan football and I see more events for girls and young girls to get them excited about soccer.
Do you think who brings profit to country, people, uno stayed in country, or who is abroad?
I think the best players and best teams are the ones that bring the most money and fans. All professional teams try to get exciting players and it makes the fans come to the games. I think the money the men’s teams pay for players in the premier league is too much, but some of that money is payed to UEFA so that money gets used for youth teams, so that is good.
Is Kazakhstan football famous abroad?
Because of men’s Astana team and women’s Biik team Europe is now starting to learn more about Kazakhstan football. But in the U.S., unfortunately they do not know much about Kazakhstan football. Maybe soon.
How do you think the success of player depends on talent or luck?
Training, and hard work are very important. Talent has to be identified by coaches and those players have to be trained to be the best. Luck is not how soccer is developed.
Tell me please about your team and coach in California?
My current team is the San Diego Surf Academy team. My team is part of the US team development academy. We train and play by UEFA rules and we train with the best players. My head coach is from England and he is very good. I also have two other coaches I work with that are for one on one training and they are from Trinidad and England as well. My team is very competitive and most of my teammates are going to play soccer at the highest levels for teams at top universities.
Can you give advice for beginners football players?
I would tell young players to make sure they have fun. Soccer is a game, we should not forget that. But the most competitive players will work hard and try and be the best. Those players will always succeed.
Do you have any hobbies except soccer?
I like to play basketball. Soccer takes most of my time, but I like to be with my friends when I am not traveling for soccer. My family likes to travel and we like to see new countries.
What profession would you like to do in the future?
I want to play professional soccer when I am finished with university and then I would like to work for UEFA. I would like to help young players to get a chance to play soccer and have a love for the game.
Do you have a dream?
i have many dreams, but I want to play at the top level and win a championship. To play in the Olympics or to play for in the World Cup would be my biggest dream. I also want to work for UEFA and help developing countries build their youth programs.
What’s your favorite book? On which book hero would you like to be similar and why?
My favorite book is “Foward” by Abby Wambach because it describes how hard Abby worked to achieve her dreams. I found it inspirational.
by Dina Oraz