In early December we reached out to users asking them to join our mission. We wanted people to help us in our quest to improve women's football coverage in the app.
The response to this call to action was overwhelming and we now have a growing group of Forza Football ambassadors helping us to improve our coverage.
We sat down with one of these awesome ambassadors, Shaina Benhiyoun from Chicago, to discuss her passion for women’s football, for photography and for being an ambassador.
What made you so passionate about women’s football?
Watching the US Women’s National Team made me passionate about women's football. I love the sport, and I love the team! Their winning spirit, dominance and “never say die” mentality is so empowering, not just for me as a woman but as a person.
Why did you decide to report lineups in Forza Football?
When I started to take my football fandom seriously and wanted to follow the leagues, games etc, I needed an app that had it all. When I found Forza, it was the best option out there and I love it!
But when it came to reporting women’s football, it wasn’t reported the same way the men's games and leagues were. So when Forza said that they were committed to making women's football more accessible I jumped at the opportunity to help.
Fans should have just as much access to the women’s game as they have to the men's game. I want the average fan to have quality reporting, to get to know the leagues, teams and players and be enthusiastic about supporting the women’s game.
What is your favourite thing about reporting lineups in Forza Football?
One of my favourite things about reporting lineups is that I get to learn more about other teams and leagues all over the world. For example Liga MX Femenil. I’m not that familiar with the league, but I get to learn more when I research the game lineups and report them. I also love being apart of the Forza Football community!
You take photographs at games. Who are some of your favourite people to take pictures of?
My favourite female player to photograph and watch is hands down Megan Rapinoe. She is a creative winger and can be unpredictable at times with the ball at her feet. Her awesome personality off the field comes to life on the field as well. She is so talented, creative, lively, proud, strong, and fearless. You can see it on her face when she plays, which obviously can make for some great photos!
When did you start taking pictures?
My first game was the Chicago Red Stars vs Houston Dash. It was a freezing rainy/snowy night. By the end of the game I could hardly feel my feet and they were soaked, I still loved every minute of it.
What is your first football memory?
My first football memory is playing with my two brothers indoors at home. It was probably not the best idea but we played many sports together and broke a window or two along the way!
What are your hopes for the future of women’s football?
My short term hopes are that the athletes be treated as athletes and professionals. With equal support from federations or owners that they give to their men's teams. That teams provide adequate living, training and playing conditions/facilities for their athletes.
My long term hope really is that soccer really becomes a mainstream sport in the US, the way basketball, football, baseball, and hockey is. That we have world-class academies with systems in place that can scout out the best talent our country can offer regardless of socio-economic status.
How do you think the women’s World Cup will go this summer?
I think the World Cup this summer is going to be great and create great strides for the game going forward! You do have your usual suspects like the USA, Germany, France who are favourites. But there are countries like the Netherlands who in my opinion are contenders as well.
So I am excited to see the level of competition and see if any upsets will happen. Hopefully not against the USA though, I’ll be supporting them and hoping they defend the title.
Would you recommend reporting to other people?
I would definitely recommend reporting to other people. You don’t have to know the players, lineup formations, or positions of players in order to report. The main thing for me is awareness and access. I love that Forza is committed to this.
So, there you go, Shania wholeheartedly recommends joining the community and it couldn’t be simpler, all you have to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you want to check out more of Shania’s fantastic photos then you should go to her website: https://www.shainabenphoto.com/ or her Instagrams: https://www.instagram.com/shainabenhiyoun/ and https://www.instagram.com/sbphotosports.