Exclusive - Ada Hegerberg has revealed that inspiring the next generation of young female players and using her voice to help increase coverage of the women’s game is what ‘drives’ her.
Even at just 26, Hegerberg emerged from a generation of players where female role models in football were still lacking. She has previously spoken about admiring male stars like Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry and looking to others sports for female role models, like tennis icon Serena Williams.
But with the rapidly growing profile of women’s football and as a result of her enormous success, Hegerberg, who has joined UEFA Women's Champions League broadcaster DAZN as a global ambassador, has become a huge role model herself and it is something she takes very seriously.
“It’s big when you get feedback from the next generation. I feel that is something I lacked when I was younger, having natural female role models playing football,” she tells 90min.
“I think that’s really starting to change when you get more coverage of the game and that’s what drives me as well, getting inspired but also [inspiring] younger kids.
“I’m only 26 so I feel I have a lot of years to come still to inspire. But that is something that drives me a lot in my everyday life. I’m very passionate about football and I really want to drive the sport into a place where the next [young player] comes up and actually kicks ass and takes your spot one day.
“I think we have a great responsibility of pushing the sport in the right direction because if we, the players, don’t use our voices for that, I think it’s much, much harder to get development in the women’s game. Give me some time, but there’s so much to do still, so give me some years [laughs].”
Hegerberg has often spoken about the development of women’s football in the past and driving the sport forward is a subject she is extremely passionate about. A significant part of that is getting people into stadiums to watch women’s games, on top of the growing television audience.
“I just watched the Swedish game this weekend, Hammarby facing AIK, which is the big, big derby in Sweden,” she explains, referring to an historic Stockholm derby in the Damallsvenskan.
“[It was a] great game, I know the rivalry and history of it, so to get the women into that same rivalry and get 20,000 people into the stadium was fantastic to see.”
On the same weekend, Manchester United faced Manchester City in the WSL. It was a record home crowd of more than 3,700 for United, but… “It should have been at Old Trafford,” Hegerberg says.
“You see little trends everywhere and I hope post-COVID that you can get back these good spirits again and the positive trending of women’s football, get people to the stadiums to watch games because that’s what the sport needs as well.”
Ada Hegerberg is DAZN’s first ever season-long global women’s football ambassador. Thanks to the the partnership with DAZN and YouTube, for the first time, fans around the world can finally follow every single UEFA Women’s Champions League match throughout the entire season for free on DAZN’s UEFA Women’s Champions League YouTube channel.