The CFU International Day of the Girl feature is on Aruba’s Ellen de Jong

Published on 11 October 2021

Photo: Ellen de Jong of Aruba

There has been no looking back for 13-year-old Ellen de Jong these past four years since dance and gymnastics gave way to football.

Due to the absence of a girl’s league at the time she joined football, Ellen began training and playing with the boys at Racing Club Aruba’s (RCA). And, no, she’s never felt intimidated playing with the boys.

In April 2019, at age 11, she took the opportunity to join the adult women team of RCA in the national competition. She also receives extra training at the Aruban Soccer Academy. Ellen plays midfield and striker, but prefers her position as striker.

With six goals—including a brace and a hat-trick—Ellen was the top goal scorer for Aruba, which lifted the CFU 2021 Girls U-14 Challenge Series Tier II trophy. She describes the August 22-29 competition held in the Dominican Republic as “amazing.”

“It was my first time playing internationally, and I’m really happy I got the change to do this, and I’m especially proud of what the team and I accomplished,” she said.

It goes without saying that football is important to Ellen, who said, “I get really happy the moment I get on the pitch and I always give 100 percent to win with my team.”

She has a favorite player—Dutch international Vivianne Miedema—“I play at the same positon as she does and she has a lot of positive energy and team spirit. Aside from that, she is just a wonderful player and role model for me to look up to,” the young footballer said.

Ellen would love to play professionally, and she would love to see where her studies lead, although she hasn’t pinned down that plan yet.

In the while, Ellen trains no fewer than times a week and plays for RCA Boys U13, RCA Damas and the National Girls U15. She is currently a second-year student at Colegio Arubano. She spends her limited free time with her family, pets and friends.

The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

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