An enthusiastic, charming young lady, Jyoti Burrett has perhaps as much footballing knowledge as many sports journalists themselves. Jyoti, who never represented India at any level, before making it to the senior team, got a direct entry into the National Camp. Her hard-work, sheer determination and talent doing justice to her inclusion. A strong hearted woman, Jyoti gave up a high end corporate job for football. A true disciple of the beautiful game, Jyoti was picked in the 23 member team to tour China, in an exposure trip, before the commencement of the Asian Games.
The Hard Tackle’s Joseph Solomon caught up with the mesmerizing Jyoti Burrett, and asked her about, her incredible journey.
Joseph : Hello Jyoti, how are you? We at The Hard Tackle commend you for your commitment and passion towards football.
Jyoti : Hi Joseph, I’m fine. Well, thanks a lot!
Joseph : It is highly unlikely for girls to get into football, how did this transition happen?
Jyoti : Well initially I was never a footballer. I was an athlete and a hockey player. Our school offered hockey as a sport for girls, and I played hockey till the state level, so from then on I moved to football, I moved to juggling. The transition from hockey to football is not that difficult, obviously there are different limbs involved, but the game play is pretty similar, so that way it was sort of easy for me.
Joseph : Did your school, Welham, play a major part in it ?
Jyoti : Welham gave me a lot of exposure to hockey and athletics and Welham’s girls have this atmosphere of being sporty and all. If you play sports its a big thing in our school, you are treated as a hero. So I feel that I’m lucky that i am an alumni of Welham.
Joseph : Given that Football in India is not seen as a lucrative career option, were your parents against it ?
Jyoti : I haven’t had the sort of opposition from parents, they have been supportive and in fact this is like their dream come true. So me playing football is better for them, instead of any corporate job.
Joseph : Well, you shunned a high paying corporate job to play football, what was it ? Was it Passion ?
Jyoti : I just don’t see myself doing a 9-5 desk job, I think ill probably tire of boredom. This was my life is more spontaneous and happening.
Joseph : How did you get into Juggling ? And do you think a better juggler is a better player ?
Jyoti : Initially i never had a football at home, i had a tennis ball, so i would try and juggle with it. Slowly and gradually, my interest developed and well, i try to do more tricks and skills with it. Yes, I personally think that it does help you in the game, because you are comfortable with the ball, so you’re used to that ball touching you’re feet, that even when you play a match its just natural, You can always use it.
Joseph : How was the experience with the Jaguar Eves, your primitive club ?
Jyoti : I needed a place to play in Delhi and its hard as you know, so i found a place to play and my friends put me in touch with Jaguar Eves. I remember the first day i went there and i was like, can i please play ? Hence, Jaguar eves became a place where i could go when i needed support.
Joseph : Finally you got into the National Team, how has the transition been, say from a juggler to a national level player?
Jyoti : I was completely out of my comfort zone, as i went directly into the camp and i saw people there so good. I remember looking at the Manipuri girls and thinking ‘i am never going to reach that level’. But in camp, you improve and you get better, so the transition you can say was difficult as well as rewarding.
Joseph : Apart from this transition, How has life been at the national camp ?
Jyoti : Ofcourse it is very very competitive, there are days where you think im gonna get trampled upon and there are days where you can stand up and dictate things. It has its ups and downs, but it is difficult.
Joseph : You have also played in England. Tell us about your experiences there.
Jyoti : I played for my university, it was my first experience of being part of a club, a regular club. So every Sunday, it was match-day, training with the coach and everything, i really liked the whole professionalism at it, and so it was a huge thing for me. There were girls, who are so much bigger, physically well built than me and , they’ve been playing since they were kids. So All in All, England was a good eye opener to the football world.
Joseph : How were the training methods and infrastructure there, as compared to India ?
Jyoti : We played on a rubber pitch there, as it is always rainy, it was a lovely pitch, you can fall, you can slide, nothing happens to you. The infrastructure was great, you have the best gyms, the best facilities, and the best running tracks around.
Joseph : So, on that note, What do you think about the state of women’s football in India ?
Jyoti : See, i have been playing football for 4 years in India, and i can see a genuine improvement in media coverage and facilities. You can see a change, but still there is a lot of scope for improvement.
Joseph : How was the training camp in Mumbai ? Was it difficult in adjusting to the 4-2-3-1 ?
Jyoti : See the 4-2-3-1 was a bit difficult, because it meant that the 2 holding midfielders had to do a hell of a job. I also changed my position to right wing. It was very very tiring initially but as we got fitter, we adjusted to the system.
Joseph : And how were your experiences there, with the team ?
Jyoti : Ofcourse, the experiences were nice. Everytime I play with Bembem its like im playing with a living legend. She is very motivating and everyone looks upto her. Aditi is a really good friend, she is always making jokes, she is a nice person to have around. You get mesmerized with Bala, her skill, her ball control is amazing, I’d love to be able to control the ball the way she does.
Joseph : Then there was an exposure trip to China, How did it help the team ?
Jyoti : When you play abroad there is this different sense, of togetherness, its great for team bonding. Ofcourse there is that extra ‘josh’ of playing for the country, and you want to give your 110% every time. I feel it really makes the team bond, the minute you leave the country. You leave the country as India, the togetherness feeling just gets you.
Joseph : You were subsequently axed from the squad destined for South Korea, any thoughts on that?
Jyoti : Every dog has its day, it happens, this time someone else makes it, next time someone else makes it, it goes on. Its just a matter of me being consistent to that level, and i just have to work hard on it.
Joseph : And what are your thoughts on the Indian Women’s Performances in the Asian Games?
Jyoti : Its football right? Sometimes you win,sometimes you loose,and sometimes you draw. Its that simple.
Joseph: Finally, Can we see Jyoti leading the line for the Indian team soon?
Jyoti : Well hopefully, lets see, I think ill probably switch my position to the right wing, because Bala is playing and she is really good at it, and i prefer running, i’m an athlete by nature. So i see myself playing a lot more right wing, i just have to work a lot more on my crosses.
Joseph : Coming into the rapid fire segment, which club do you support ?
Jyoti : AS Roma
Joseph : Who is your favorite player?
Jyoti : Francesco Totti
Joseph : Who is your favorite Indian player?
Jyoti : Sunil Chhetri
Joseph : Who is your favorite team-mate?
Jyoti : Aditi Chauhan
Joseph : As a forward, goal scoring or goal assisting?
Jyoti : Goal Scoring
Joseph : Describe Jyoti in five adjectives
Jyoti : Enthusiastic, Hard working, Competitive, Entertaining, Supportive
Joseph : Alright, thanks a lot Jyoti for your time. All the best for your footballing career ahead!
Jyoti : Thanks, Cheers!