ULTRA MAG | ISSUE 7 - NAOMI CHINNAMA
Fri, Nov 26.21
Thanks for shooting with us, Naomi! After a pretty crazy couple of COVID affected seasons, how happy are you that the new campaign is underway?
I'm so happy to be back to the business end of the game.... COVID created quite a few speed bumps for me as an athlete, but the support of my parents made this tolerable.
I also think that having the atmosphere back will be amazing, especially with all the crowds and fans being present to support the game. It’s definitely something that I think everyone is looking forward to.
You took some time out of your busy study schedule for this shoot which we are so thankful for - how have your exams gone?
Exams are always challenging, but I think I did well in light of everything else.
For some of us older people who might not fully grasp how difficult it must have been for the younger generation - what were some of the challenges you faced trying to do school from home because of the pandemic? Was it hard to adapt or did you find it okay?
It was quite an easy transition for me because I was already doing online school, due to training and travel requirements. This I think was an advantage as the platform was very organised and with teachers that were flexible. I’ll admit it took some effort to maintain the discipline to focus on school tasks, especially after a full day. Not being able to see my friends was also a challenge, but we found ways to keep connected.
What have you been doing during the COVID period to stay on top of your game? Both physically and mentally.
My training has never stopped and through Alex at MTM – More Than Management, I was fortunate enough to secure an Athlete Scholarship at MFP – Melbourne Fitness and Performance. Here I worked on my pre-season goals together with various programs from Melbourne City and The Future Matildas. This kept me very focused and engaged both physically and mentally during the COVID lockdown period. Critically, outside of all of this was the support of my family in our home training sessions where I did the majority of my ball work.
Lil Nas X was our soundtrack to the shoot. What other artists are you a fan of and does music play a big role in your own personal training?
Music plays a huge part in my training, pre-match preparation and ‘me time’. I listen to a wide selection like Jason Derulo, Kid Laroi, Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber and Machel Montano.
Who are some of your inspirations both on and off the pitch?
I am inspired by women who have been trying to advance Women’ s Football globally. I follow the Matildas who also serve as a beacon. Not only as professional players at the highest level here in Australia, but in the way they carry themselves as public figures internationally.
Some of the players we have shot with have mentioned the likes of Héctor Bellerín as players they look up to in terms of pushing the boundaries of style. Are there any players you follow and look up to in terms of their style off the pitch?
Players that stand out for me would include Cristiano Ronaldo, Ellie Carpenter, Kyah Simon, Kylian Mbappe and David Beckham.
What about in terms of style of play. Who are some of the players that you look up to? Do you try to base your game on anyone in particular?
In terms of playing styles. I have looked at both Coaches and players because one does not go without the other. Ramos, Kante, Van Dijk and Wendie Renard have all had an influence on my game. I’ve incorporated some key elements from each, in hopes to further develop my game. This I feel helps me to adapt to any coaching style.
What boots will you be rocking this season?
I will start the season with the new Nike Leather Tiempos.
Now that the world is opening up again, where are you looking forward to visiting in Australia and overseas?
If time allows, I would really like to have a small holiday with my family in Queensland, the Caribbean and possibly the UK / Europe.
What are your personal goals for the rest of this season? Are there any specific targets you have in mind?
Score a goal, continue working hard, keep clean sheets, win the league, play for the Matildas (not necessarily in that order 😃).
How excited are you for the World Cup on home soil in 2023? Is it something which really motivates you?
I could not be more excited. This is a great opportunity to put on the ultimate show on home soil and potentially grow Australia’s fan base for women’s football. I was even involved in the “Get On Side” Campaign. My motivation comes from knowing that there may even be the slightest chance to put on the Aussie colours and step onto the pitch. The Matildas have done a fantastic job of lifting the sport to a high standard and I think hosting the World Cup is a well deserved opportunity. Winning the Cup would also be a bonus 😉.
Photography by Aleksandar Jason.