Malta Football Association
INTERVIEW: Rachel Cuschieri
Aug 1, 2012
Posted in:
Photo © Domenic Aquilina / MFA
Photo © Domenic Aquilina / MFA

  • Photo © Domenic Aquilina / MFA
  • Photo © Domenic Aquilina / MFA
  • Photo © Domenic Aquilina / MFA
  • Photo © Domenic Aquilina / MFA

Personal Statistics

Full Name: Rachel Cuschieri
Current Team:  Birkirkara FC
Date of Birth: 26 April 1992 (20 years)
Playing Position: Midfielder
National Team:
Caps 22
Goals 2
Debut Vs Switzerland 23-Jan-2007

How do you feel this year was for you, both on a local scene as well as the international matches?

It wasn't easy, but as a B'kara player I was part of the team that ended a great season by winning the league. This title will give us the opportunity to take part in the Champions League which will mean a lot of hard work. The group stages will take place in Malta. There are a number of differences between local and international matches, I think the main one being that in international matches, you don't really know what you're going to find on the pitch. I did not manage to score for my country this season, but still I was still very happy that I gave my part in every match, together with all my mates that want to make all those who believe in us proud of this enthusiastic squad.

You have always said your ambition is to go and play abroad - as a woman do you feel it is more difficult to break through in the international football scene and get a professional contract overseas?

As Maltese citizens, although we have some great talent, it is hard for us to succeed overseas, and yes, I do believe that when it comes to women it's even harder. Getting a professional contract overseas isn't like getting a certificate at your school prize day, it means business! Even though it is difficult to break through, I will do my very best to do so in the best possible way with hard work and dedication in what I love to do most, playing football!

You have been capped with the Malta national team since you were at a young age of 16 and it was obvious that your talent would greatly benefit the team... how do you think you have fared till now?

At the age of 16 when I was first capped with the National team I didn't really understand what wearing that red shirt and representing my country meant. Now that I've been been part of this team for the last 5 years, and now that I have also managed to score some goals, I feel I have a better understanding of the great sense of pride that one feels when playing for one's country. For this reason I will keep on working really hard to keep my place with the national team and to thank all those who believed in me from day one.

Take us through the sacrifices a woman has to go through to reach your level in Malta and to try and make it abroad?

Sacrifices are endless, but as we say 'No Pain No Gain'. We train nearly everyday, and sometimes after a hard day at work you'd much rather stay at home than go to a training session in the cold. But sacrifices do not take place only on pitch, as we also need to sacrifice things from our private lives. Staying outside late with your friends having a drink, eating junk food which we all like, spending a day at the sea in summer instead of going to preseason, going to training in the rain instead of staying inside watching a good DVD.. These are sacrifices that all those who take football seriously do. For some football is just a hobby where they meet for an hour training to have fun together, for me football means business. I want to succeed and so I see each sacrifice as a staircase to my dream.

We saw the team struggling against big teams like Spain and England but fare very well against Luxembourg and even Austria. Do you think that the level in Women's football has yet to level itself and within the coming years establish a level playing field creating some surprises?

We really work hard as a national squad to get good results, not only for our personal satisfaction but also to thank all those who work really hard to prepare us for such matches, such as our coaches and physiotherapists. I think if we continue to work hard as a squad we can keep building on our good results and performances. When it comes to Spain and England it's a bit difficult to compare our team with theirs, but we never say die! The game always starts with 11 players on both sides and with a point each (0-0). We always try to keep that point or even getting 3 instead. Up till now we failed to do so with great squads, but I see a bright future with the young ones coming up. Who know maybe there are some surprises in store for us.. Never say never!

The pleasure in watching women's football is the sometimes seen in the eagerness to continue with the game even when there is a foul. How is this so?

It's kind of funny, but I think it's in our genes that we want to prove wrong  all those that believe that football is only for men. Football is our passion, we do it for free without getting any pay or compensation. We just want to play football, no dramas, no fights.. I think this makes womens' football different from the mens'. For us it's just passion and eagerness to play , while on the other hand I think men's football is switching from passion to money making.

Fans have recently realised the potential in local women's football but still it is not enough! What is your message to the generlal public to follow you at the stadium?

Personally I hate people who judge. Sometimes after a loss like against Spain or England I hear people complaining that we aren't good at anything and we don't take things seriously. This hurts and angers me because we work really hard to prepare ourselves for such matches.  I invite all those enthusiastic people who go to support our Men's national team to come and support us women as well, and to see with their eyes our hard work instead of judging us. We want to win as much any other man wants to and so their support would be greatly appreciated from us players.
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