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Evdokiya Popadinova - the first Bulgarian woman footballer in the English Premier League

БНР Новини
Photo: private library

For the first time a Bulgarian girl has been successful in the English Premier League. This is the beautiful and talented Evdokiya Popadinova or Eva. She was born in 1996 in the town of Hadjidimovo, near Blagoevgrad, southwestern Bulgaria. She was a scorer of the team of Sportika in Blagoevgrad and has also scored goals for the national side and the team of the National Sports Academy. Evdokiya Popadinova has recently signed a contract with the UK team of Bristol Academy. "I am not going to the UK to sit on the bench," she says. "I'm going there to prove what I can do. I have high expectations but there is a lot of work that needs to be done." How long was the road of the footballer from Hadjidimovo to Bristol?

"Overall, the road is quite long. I have been training since I was a little girl and now comes the success. I have always imagined that these things would happen to me earlier, before I turned18 years old. But I'm glad it happened now because I am more aware now and know more," Eva says.

People often ask her why she chose football. It all happened spontaneously. Her father sparked her interest in the game as he is a football coach. When she was a child she preferred spending her free time playing football with the boys. She started practicing seriously when she became 12 years old. At first, her father was not fascinated by the idea because in those years nobody in Bulgaria knew about women's football. However, he accepted the will of his daughter after seeing she had great talents. It was him who supported Evdokiya in the worst moment of her life, as she defines it. The footballer suffered an injury that took her out of the stadium for 7 long months. This was also a period of hesitation and doubts. Evdokiya was about to give up football but her father convinced her to continue, because he believed she would have her chance to prove her abilities. Today Evdokia says the injury has made her a stronger person, both physically and mentally. But has her love towards football made her a man-like person in life?

Снимка"I would not say that in life I'm a tomboy. I am a woman of manly courage but I want to be feminine. However, when I am on the field, things change. This sport is linked to a lot of pain and if I behave like a girl, things will not happen the way I want.”

Every footballer dreams of an international career. Is it easy for a foreigner to make a breakthrough in the English Premier League? Here is what Eva says:

"It is not easy at all especially when we speak of Bulgaria. Women's football in this country is not well developed, so transfers are difficult. A year ago my former coach Emil Kartselski who now works in England, tried to secure my breakthrough. It is difficult because you have to prove that you are really talented. When I went there, I never thought they would like me. But after the second training session, the coach told me to stay. "

The beautiful footballer has already met her British teammates and was fascinated by their warm reception. "They help me and never made me feel out of place in this team," Eva says. She is excited by the opportunities for development and conditions for training that are at a much higher level in comparison to the situation in Bulgaria.

"In Bulgaria coaches are trying to raise the bar, but financing is not enough. When we have a match in another city, for example, coaches are looking for sponsors to cover the costs,” Eva says. “I can only praise the coaches, because each one of them is trying to help us. It's not easy. I hope women's football in Bulgaria would develop because there are many talented girls," Evdokiya Popadinova says in conclusion.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: private library

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