Interview: Tessa Wullaert
Here we are again with a new interview! This time we decided to give attention to the women competition of football. We are very proud to announce you this interview, with a footballer who has the future of the women's football at her feet, Tessa Wullaert!
Tessa started her carreer as a 5-year-old girl at FC Wakken, Ingelmunster and Sporting West Harelbeke. In 2007 she went to the youth system of the women football team of DVC-Zuid-West-Vlaanderen. In 2008 she started playing for Lady’s Zultse VV where she became champions in 2009 in the second division of Belgian football.
4 years later she went to Anderlecht where she stayed for 1 season. In 2013 she left RSC Anderlecht and was transfered to Standard Fémina. At this club she played her first games in the UEFA Women Champions League. Standard Fémina finished as runner-up and she became player of the year. The next season Standard Fémina became champions with here being topscorer (18 goals) in the BeNe League (A competition with teams from Belgium and the Netherlands). In 2015 she won the Sparkle which is an individual troffee for best player of the year in Belgium. That same year she also signed a 2 year contract at Wolfsburg in Germany.
Who is the hardest opponent you ever played against?
That is a difficult question. I think I should say the entire team of Bayern München. This team has a lot of international players with great qualities. We had a very difficult game against them at the start of this season and we lost 1-0. At this moment Bayern München is on the top of the league. A few weeks ago we drawed 1-1 against them. I scored the only goal for my team, which is a great moment for about 2000 fans!
Which is your favourite stadium? Which stadium gives you the best memories?
I played in many big and beautiful stadiums, domestic and abroad, so it’s difficult to pick one. I have to admit that our own stadium in Wolfsburg is perfect to play. It is newly built and everything is modern and clean. The capacity (15.000) is just perfect for a women team.
Sometimes stadiums are cheerlessly because they are oversized.
One of my best memories was in the stadium of Dessel. We played at against Iceland and we won 1-0. I scored the only goal but unfortunately this victory wasn't enough to qualify for the Euro's but it remains one of my top moments.
How did it feel to get called up for the national team? How is it being a “newby”?
I remember that I was honoured and afraid. Everbody was older than me and I hardly knew anyone. Such situations were unknown and strange for me and I tought thought of quitting football.
Fortunately I changed my mind because during our trips and trainings you learn to know the other players.
I instantly fitted in the national team and made an instant impact in my 1st international game by scoring the only goal against Russia. And of course when everything is going well, you can put yourself through hard situations. Anyway, it's very nice to return to Belgium and play for our national team. I am still very proud of it.
You got transfered from Standard Fémina to Wolfsburg. What is the difference between Belgium and Germany?
The difference with Belgium is huge. In Germany I train on a daily base, sometimes even twice a day. Our trainigs are much more physically and tactically. The speed of execution is also much higher and I learn a lot. I'm very happy with my move. In Belgium I had achieved everything possible.
Wolfsburg is one of the top teams in Europe which gives me the chance of playing with international players from many different countries such as Sweden, Poland, Norway, Switzerland, Germany and Hungary. The communication is different than in Belgium, where we mainly use Dutch or French.
The setting is also very different in Wolfsburg. We have 5 or 6 physiotherapists, 2 doctors, 4 coaches, a physical trainer and two goalkeeping trainers. Beside football we are also very well helped with things like finding a suitable house, a six-monthly (!) switch of cars or arranging transport back home.
Next to our dressing room we also have a small gym which we can use before of after our trainings. Compared to Belgium, this gym is used daily. In Belgium, players arrive just in time for their training and leave straight after.
Women's football is much more popular in Germany. On average we have about 1.000 fans at our games. As I said we have our own stadium which is next to that of the men's team, having a capacity of about 15.000 spectators. After our games, there are always fans who want pictures with us or who ask us to sign their cards or tickets.
You are just 23 years old but everybody is calling you the future of the Belgiand women football. You are already all-time topscorer from Belgium. Where will it end?
Good question! I'm just trying to live week to week and getting the maximum every day. An injury or accident always looms around the corner. It is nice to receive awards and to be rewarded for your hard work but there is still a long way to go and their is always room for improvement. I have always been a bit of a striver. As a result of that I am rarely satisfied with my performance.
Last year you became player of the season and you won another price. How was it to win the Sparkle?
That's correct, I was topscorer of the BeNe League competition but the sparkle also was a great reward. It was a very nice initiative which took place in Ostend. Of course it is not comparable to the Golden Shoe for men, but if we give the organisation some more time this event will become very great as well. The trophy is at my home in Belgium.
You already had many highlights in your carreer. If you had to pick one, which would it be?
The best and most memorable memory of my career so far is the final game of last season which was Standard de Liège against PSV. The importance of this match was quite large: we had to win to become champions in the BeNe League. It was our only last and only chance as BeNe League ended after this season. The match was played in the main stadium (Philips Stadium) and there was a fairly crowd present, including many relatives. We won this match 2-0 and I assisted a goal and I scored the second goal. This last goal ensured my topscorer title.
About the competition: What do you prefer? A Belgian competition or the BeNe League?
Honestly, I still follow the results of the Belgian competition but I barely see full games. I can tell from the comments that the level has decreased since the BeNe League has been stopped. This is very bad news as the BeNe League was a great concept with some very attractive games. The level was good and the football was interesting. Both countries learned from each other. Finally, the competition was cancelled because of a money issue.
Are you superstitious?
Not really, but I have my ritual which is eating a banana before every game. I also alway play with the same shoes, although my shoe closet is packed with shoes. But why change when feeling good and confident in them? 😉
If you could choose a club where you can sign tommorow, which club would it be? What is the club of your dreams?
I would say FC Barcelona, which would be my favourite choice because of the city. I visited it last summer on a citytrip. It is also a great club, but Wolfsburg has more quality. This is definitely the club I want to be right now and if I would have to do it all over I would still pick Wolfsburg as my first club abroad. I don’t really have a preference, but I wouldn't resist an offer from Manchester City. I would like to play in England someday, so who knows..
We hope you will get your dream transfer one day. Thank you for your time and good luck with everything, Tessa!