"The Best Tool in the World"
My First Ball: By Sofie Junge Pedersen
As part of a new series, we trace the origins of footballer's love of the sport through their connection to a football - with the belief that a football can change lives.
Since 2021 adidas is pledging 1% of global ball net sales to Common Goal. Working together to change lives through football. For more info head to adidas football collective.
The ball that I remember most was a Christmas present when I was 12.
I used to take it everywhere. And when I say everywhere I mean it.
When we’d visit anyone the ball would also be at my feet or under my arm. It was always part of my journey.
I remember once I was travelling with my younger brother and we were waiting to change trains.
We got the ball out to pass the time and were passing it to each other on the platform.
I can’t remember who miscontrolled the ball (I’ll just say it was my brother!) but it ended up falling onto the tracks.
I was devastated!
Everyone was telling us that we couldn’t go and get it and I was panicking thinking I’d lost the ball.
Thankfully one of the workers came and got it for us but that memory reminds me how much the ball meant to me.
I have to confess it wasn’t the first ball I learned to play with but it was the first I was given.
I remember my father said he wanted to give me a good ball. One that would last and one that would really help me develop.
At that time my parents had seen me play a lot in the garden, and the fact that they wanted to give me the equipment to improve means a lot to me.
It was all white, but not the classic one with the black spots, just all white and the first full size ball I’d owned.
That ball helped me to get to where I am today. I would play with my brothers in the garden, and if they weren’t around, I’d just practice on my own.
Sometimes I’d set up cones for dribbling but sometimes it’d do something as simple as kicking the ball against the wall – I think I broke at least two windows that way!
With my brothers and my cousins, we joke a lot about those days because we used to play so much two on two on a huge pitch.
We’d play for hours and hours and were completely dead by the time the sunset and we couldn’t play anymore.
The day I lost that ball was sad. I’d invited my school class over to celebrate something, and then the next day it was gone.
The boys in my class told me later that they had kicked it into a big thorny bush and we couldn’t get it out.
I was really sad to lose it and the boys were also really ashamed that they hadn’t told me until later.
The ball was such a small thing but, at the same time, it was a really important part of my life and a tool that was helping me reach my dreams.
I had that ball for years and it has meant a lot to me in my life that I have been so privileged to have my own football from such a young age.
It’s a great way to practice technique. With a wall and some cones or just anything you can find. It’s a great way to help children develop.
And I know what football means. I work with a project in Ghana and all the children, they ask for footballs when I go there.
It is just the best tool in the world.
Everyone should have access to a football.
I feel so lucky because there have never been any obstacles for me to play football. In Denmark we are fortunate to be in a country where there are no limits to what girls can do.
Especially in my class and my society we had a very good girls team and a very good class.
But what’s important to me now is that other people have the same opportunities I had and that we can build a world where girls and women aren’t limited by structural inequalities.
That’s why I joined Common Goal, that’s why I always want to be involved in social projects, and why I feel proud when I see this movement growing.
Because I just love football.
I have always loved playing football and that passion is the same today as it was when I started. I think it’s one of the best tools we have to engage people, get messages across, educate, and drive change.