For India's Jyoti Ann Burrett, it's football over high-paying corporate job
The burning desire to don the national colours made Jyoti turn a deaf ear to suggestions about not being able to earn enough money plying her trade on a football field. Jyoti, an alumni of Welham Girls' School in Dehradun and St Stephen's College feels that once she played in National tournament, it changed her mindset and she started taking the game seriously.
She looks cut out for those serious board-room meetings but then 23-year-old Jyoti Ann Burrett would reveal that she is the striker of Indian women's football team and you would be stunned watching her poaching skills at training.
Women's football in India isn't a lucrative career-option but this Delhi girl, who holds a Masters degree in Sports and Health Science from University of Exeter, decided to listen to her heart and pursue here biggest passion-playing football.
"I got a lot of strange reactions as to why I opted for football over a corporate career. Why didn't I go for a well-paid desk job after completion of my Masters degree but I was clear in my mind that this is what I wanted to do...to represent my country in football," Jyoti, who has been selected in the Indian squad for AFC Cup (Qualifiers) told PTI today.
The burning desire to don the national colours made Jyoti turn a deaf ear to suggestions about not being able to earn enough money plying her trade on a football field.
"Many would ask me 'Are you going to earn enough out of playing football over a corporate job? What's the future has in store for you, where from now, but football stayed my first love and like every other kid, I dreamt of representing India?" she added.
Jyoti, an alumni of Welham Girls' School in Dehradun and St Stephen's College feels that once she played in National tournament, it changed her mindset and she started taking the game seriously.
"I started with football juggling and I am capable of performing a lot of aerial stunts with the football. You know it's the showy aspect of the game.
"But only in college, I started taking football seriously and developed keen interest in the sport. I started playing University football in the UK and also trained with Tottenham Hotspur in their pre-season camp last year which helped me immensely," claims Jyoti.
Asked about her journey from a juggler to a national team striker, Jyoti said she came to know about the camp for the AFC Cup while playing for a club in Delhi.
"When playing for a city-based club, I came to know about the camp for the AFC Cup trials. I went for it and got selected," she said.
Jyoti informed that she got bugged by juggling when she watched an advertisement which had Ronaldinho, Edgar Davids, Totti among others featuring in it way back in 2004.
The Indian women's football team (50 in FIFA rankings) hardly gets any visibility despite being placed higher than their male counterparts.
Jyoti said the pride and satisfaction that come from representing the country is enough and cannot be matched.
"It's a different feeling representing your country. It's an achievement for me," she said.
The diminutive 5 feet 3 inches tall Jyoti reveals that whenever she would try the juggling act in college, people would invariably mistake her to be a boy.
"Most of the boys would look at me juggling the ball from a distance in Stephens and say I am sure that's a boy. They will express shock that I am actually a girl when they come closer. I actually started playing with the boys in the college," she said.
So what does she do to pay her bills, the pint-sized striker answered,"I am professional trainer at the gym and this also helps me to stay fit."