2019 Women's World Cup

Check Out These Candid Photos Shot by Women's World Cup Players

Goal Click sends cameras to professional and grassroots footballers across the world. The result is an intimate insight into their lives.

by Ruby Lott-Lavigna
21 June 2019, 12:52pm

Photo via Goal Click/Sam Catley. 

Goal Click is a global project with a simple idea: send a bunch of disposable cameras to football players across the world and get them to document their experiences. This year, the photography social enterprise delivered cameras to a collection of players in pre-training for this year’s Women’s World Cup – including Thailand, New Zealand and England – and asked them to snap pictures of their lives. And for professional footballers, they can really shoot (pun intended) a decent photo.

We spoke to Matthew Barrett, CEO and co-founder of Goal Click, about the 21 photos taken before the Women’s World Cup.

VICE: Hi Matt. So, first, tell me: how did Goal Click start?
Matthew Barrett: It started around five years ago, with a very simple idea that we would find someone from every country in the world and provide them with a camera to capture the story, and give them the power and control to do it themselves. While Goal Click’s global project continues, we’re now focusing more on specific series, whether that's a specific city or country or issue or tournament.

How do the photos from the Women’s World Cup differ from the photos you’ve received back from men’s tournaments?
This is the first time we have gone in-depth in a big way into women's professional football. What I particularly love about all these photos is the range of situations that they cover. When we first started the project, one of the concerns was: would they all look very similar? Would there be a lot of training ground action? But the photos that we got back show that the range in women's football is pretty dramatic.

Loes Geurts takes a photo of her teammates at Göteborg FC. Geurts is representing the Netherlands in this World Cup. All photos via Goal Click

You get range in men's football but at the top level, everything starts to look quite similar. While you're dealing with women footballers who are united by being at the top of their game, it's still quite surprising how much difference there is in terms of facilities, in terms of conditions, in terms of pitch quality.

Tamires Cássia Dias de Britto's teammates playing Teqball at Granja Comary, Brazil's national training ground.

Why do you think the format of the disposable camera works?
I think what the disposables do is make them equal as you get a standardised look and feel. They also lower the guard of their teammates. There are a number of photos that I do not believe an outsider could take. There's something quite natural and not intrusive about a disposable camera. As with all of our projects, it also gives a lot of intentionality about the photos. There are only 27 photos on the camera. You get a very deliberate set of photos that really tell a story, and you get more intimate with the players.

Steph Catley, who plays for Australia, takes a picture of her teammate Lydia Williams on top of the brand new World Cup balls.

What’s the most interesting thing we can learn from these pictures?
I have been struck by the closeness of the bonds of the women footballers. This is across the entire board. It's quite surprising, having that strength of feeling.

Stine Hovland's teammates play with a ball in Bergen Harbour, Norway.

Through the stories as well, there's still this commonality of barriers. Hopefully, this is the last time that we have stories of people who started playing with boys until they were not allowed to play anymore, or all the cliches of not having the team or the encouragement. I hope that if we repeat this project in four and eight years time, those stories are consigned to the past.

Steph Catley (Australia) takes a picture of the Matildas on a recovery day at the beach.
Sam Mewis shares an ice bath with USA teammate Alex Morgan.
Miranda Nild takes a picture of her Thailand teammate Rattikan Thongsombut.
Without a national team to train with while studying, Miranda Nild trains at the sports grounds at the University of California.
Lucy Bronze's teammates in Leon after the Champions League semi-final leg.
Lucy Bronze's Leon teammates (from left to right: Keisha Buchanan, Shanice van de Sanden, and Saki Jumagai) en route to the Champions League semi-final.
Loes Geurts (Netherlands) shows the camaraderie of her team Göteborg FC.
Lauren Silver (Jamaica) takes a photo of her Norwegian club team, Trondheims-ørn, training in the snow. Silver is watching in the stands as the paperwork for playing with her team had not been finalised. As a result, she couldn't participate in the upcoming game.
Kelley O'Hara (USA) documents her teammates at the San Jose training camp.
Hedvig Lindahl (Sweden) takes a photo of the empty Paris stadium.
Fernanda Pinilla, who plays for Chile, captures the moment her teammates at Córdoba CF walk onto the field.
Fernanda Pinilla's Córdoba CF teammates, Cristina Medina and Irene Ragman, in Spain.
Caitlin Foord takes a photo of Alanna Kennedy and Steph Catley, who are also involved in the Goal Click project, at the Australia training camp in Denver, USA.
Beth Mead (England), captures Arsenal teammates Leah Williamson and Jordan Nobbs warming up before a training session.
Aline Reis' Brazil teammates chatting and laughing before practice in Don Benito, Spain.
Ali Riley takes a photo of New Zealand teammate Betsy Hassett painting her nails. The team were on a trip to Spain to play Norway.
Photo of Orlando Pride fans in Orlando, USA. Taken by Alanna Kennedy, who plays for Australia.