Pond champions women’s football in the VI


Sharlene Pond, 2nd from left, is determined to help women's football grow in the VI. Photo: Provided

Sharlene Pond, 2nd from left, is determined to help women’s football grow in the VI. Photo: Provided

When you drop a pebble into a pond, ripples spread out, changing all the water in the pool, which is never the same again. Listening to this week’s featured female footballer, Sharlene Pond leaves you with the same feeling that her determination to succeed, both on and off the field, has washed over you and brought about a positive change in your own mindset as well as clarity to perceptions of what can be achieved through hard work.

Her soft-spoken demeanor belies her fierce competitive nature. If you didn’t know who she was you’d never realize this slender, quiet, sincere, almost shy woman is one of the most dedicated, passionate players in local women’s football!

Her quickness, speed and will to succeed have earned Sharlene Pond the right to be called one of the best female athletes in the Territory.

Pond, though, is not just a formidable footballer, but also has found time to continue her education and combine her love for sports with a single minded determination to succeed in her career, which currently sees her working at Nagico Insurances as a marketing assistant and medical insurance administrator.

Moving from Enis Adams Primary School in 2003 to Elmore Stoutt High School, Pond’s slim build and amazing turn of speed saw her starring on the track.

“I was a Track & Field Athlete for about eight years,” said Pond. “I participated in both Inter-primary and Inter-House Track and Field and trained with the Top Notch Track Club while in high school.”

Pond graduated from ESHS in 2008 and spent two years at HLSCC where she was introduced to Football and was recruited by the British Virgin Islands Football Association in 2010.

Despite her new found love for “the beautiful game”, Pond, now a member of the highly successful and respected Ballstarz team continued her education and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Monroe College as a Bachelor of Business Administration/Management/Marketing Minor and still found time to represent the BVI at U20 and Senior levels.

She is currently combining an arduous work schedule with tough preparation for an upcoming Representative Woman’s Tournament in St Croix, but in typical demure style doesn’t even see the time consuming demands as her toughest challenge.

“I am doing a lot of physical fitness training,” said Pond. “Strengthening muscles and increasing endurance, but my biggest challenge is influencing other women in the BVI to play football. There are far more men than women in the world playing football. It’s the same in the BVI. Women players are outnumbered 3-1. Football is not a major sport in our culture like track & field, so the real challenge for me is doing my part to change that.”

Acknowledging her biggest break through so far as being given the opportunity to represent the BVI as a player for the BVI Women’s National teams, Pond also intends to give back to the game by becoming a coach. “In the sense of the game of Football, my ultimate goal would have to be coaching. I would love to be able to take my love and knowledge for the game another level, that of coaching. I have the ability to learn and understand the game and pass on my experience,” she said.

Pond, who follows Barcelona and Brazil as her favoured teams, notes the best advice she has been given: “Seize the opportunities that are given to you and make every moment count,” recounted Pond. “Giving up is never an option. I am passionate about football. Absolutely love it. I not only play the sport but I watch it as well.”

She undoubtedly will inspire future generations to play the game: “Football doesn’t take talent only. It takes passion and dedication. Both aspects you will need to be successful in life. Football builds not only good team working skills but character as well and teaches one to not only be self-responsible but also to have team reliability. Those I believe are great life skills that a lot of us are lacking.”

She also firmly believes the competitive edge to the game creates great friendships and enjoyable rivalries “Rivalries are there because of the competition, but it makes the game more interesting as well as growing you as an individual and producing friendships that last for life.”

With such focus, Pond has quickly become a leading light in the resurgence of the women’s game and it is perhaps no surprise that her time off island saw a marked drop in activity, but that her return has seen a marked increase in participation as well as a renewed belief that the women will be taken seriously by administrators, fans and sponsors alike.