Off to Japan

Off to Japan
Footballer Ernie Sulastri Sontaril plays for the H-TWO-O Ultimate Women’s Dream Team in the local women’s league and Challenge Cup.

SINGAPORE - Adam Swandi, Mahathir Azeman, Bryan Neubronner and Irfan and Ikhsan Fandi Ahmad are all young footballers chasing dreams in France, Brazil, Germany and Chile respectively.

Their ultimate goal - to play professionally in world-class football hotbeds. Ernie Sulastri Sontaril hopes to be a trailblazer for local women.

She wants to become Singapore's first female footballer to ply her trade overseas.

The 24-year-old freelance football coach will fly to Japan on Nov 11 for a two-week trial with L-League division two sides Bunnys Kyoto SC and Fukuoka J Anclas, trying to win a contract with either club.

Speaking to The New Paper, Ernie said: "I've always wanted to travel and play the sport I love. I like to challenge myself and take the risk.

"When I was studying in ITE, I wanted to make football my career, but there was no full-time opportunity here for women's football.

"I don't dream of success, I work for it. So I thought I should try going abroad."

As a fan of Japan's women's national team, the country seemed a natural choice for the Singapore international, who made her debut in 2010.

"My favourite player is Japan's former national captain Homare Sawa. I admire their team for their playing style and professionalism," said the defensive midfielder.

"It is amazing how a team from Asia won the Women's World Cup in 2011.

"I want to learn more about their culture and become a better player and person."

Urged on by a Japanese friend who used to play in the L-League, Ernie has decided to take the plunge.

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