Cimone Sauls isn’t hard to find on the field, even with her small stature.

15-year old Sauls is an absolute marvel to watch, with her speed, fast feet and magical touches, she is definitely a player that is born to stand out. Joining JVW in the then-newly formed U14 Team a few years back, Cimone has progressed through the club and is a key player in the Junior team squad who recently won the ELFA Summer League, and was due to play the ELFA Cup Final match against the JVW Senior team just before all sport was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sauls made a name for herself at Waterstone College, shortly before transferring to the JVW-ESCA program at the beginning of 2018, where she was able to fully focus on football and be able to manage her studies while doing so. Recently being called up to the U17 Women’s National Team for their World Cup qualifiers, Cimone Sauls has a future to be excited for in football, after making her debut for South Africa against Zambia in March.

Cimone Sauls in action at the Dana Cup, Denmark 2019

JVW: When did you start playing football and how old were you?

I started playing football in 2015, at the age of 11.

JVW: Why did you choose to join JVW?

I was recommended to join JVW by my soccer coaches at Waterstone College, when it was no longer advisable to play with the boys because of their size and physicality.

JVW: Having played in the VW Masters tournament and marginally losing in the final, explain that feeling and how you picked yourself up from that.

I was disappointed by the results, because we were so close to winning that match, but that same night after the final match, I joined the provincial camp for the Gauteng Team – I went to play in the provincial tournament in Bloemfontein and the loss at the VW tournament made me more determined than ever to win the Provincial tournament. Unfortunately, we finished as runners-up there too.

JVW: You attended the Dana Cup, how was that experience?

It was absolutely amazing! It was a fun experience and really different. I loved seeing all those girls doing what I love most and learning how they play.

JVW: What are the significant differences in the level of football played there?

It was quite challenging playing against them, because they are much stronger and bigger than me. Also, they play more tactical than we do in South Africa. They are all about quick passing and moving.

JVW: Recently moving to the JVW-ESCA school, how has this helped managing your schoolwork and football trainings?

At ESCA Wanderers, they give all of us about 1 to 2 hours every day, to just sit and do all our homework that was given. This really helps me so that by the time I go to training, all my homework is done and I wouldn’t have to stress about doing homework after training or even a match. They don’t give you as much homework as any other ordinary school would give, ESCA understands I have soccer to also focus on and they try limit the homework that they give us. They also don’t expect you to do many sports, which gives me more time to focus on soccer – although I miss other sports sometimes.

JVW: With ESCA only having a limited number of students, and coming from Waterstone, what did you find hard to overcome changing schools?

It was difficult leaving all my friends behind, but I knew it was for the best. I used to do a lot of sports at Waterstone and I really enjoyed it, but at ESCA I only play soccer.

JVW: You also recently made your debut for the U/17 Women’s National team, tell us what was going through your head at that particular time?

When they announced the starting line up for the World Cup Qualifying match against Zambia, I was super nervous and I didn’t know what to expect at that time, but as soon as I started warming up with the squad before the game I became more relaxed and was positive about playing and making my debut.

JVW: What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years I aim to study and play abroad. I also want to represent my country at a world cup, whether it be for the U17 and U20 Women’s national team, Banyana Banyana or even all of them.

Cimone Sauls – U17 Women’s National team debut