The international stage isn’t something new to the duo, who have signed for U.S Colleges and are ready to start their new football journey abroad.
Cayla Goncalves (19) and Danica Lotter (19) were part of the inaugural Junior team in 2015 and have both grown and treaded a similar football journey through the JVW Program, where they were most recently part of the JVW Senior Team. In 2016, whilst still part of the Junior team they took part in their very first international tournament in Denmark, the Dana Cup, Hjorring. Fast forward a couple of years, and they are well on their way to expand their careers in the U.S.
Danica’s journey in football started early, playing with the boys at their local club in the south of Johannesburg, Robertsham Callies, before moving over to JVW. After completing her matric year in 2019, Danica had dreams of making a name for herself overseas, which led her to pursue a Collegiate move and was very emotional when she finally received the news of her acceptance at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Danica hopes that by exploring this new venture, it will continue to shape her both as a player and a student.
Cayla received a scholarship through BRUSA Sports UK, signing with the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. Goncalves, who has been part of the JVW setup for six consecutive years, knew exactly what she wanted and was able to achieve it. This new move will be challenging, but she is grateful for the opportunity to play in a Division 1 University and to further her studies.
The pair have both represented their respective high schools in the JVW Schools League, with Danica leading her school to the JVW Playoff Final two years in a row as the Team Captain. Danica was also named in the JVW Best XI for two consecutive years during her school football.
JVW has played a vital role in Cayla’s football journey as it has been the only club she has played for. “JVW was an excellent place for me to learn and grow, as I was able to watch and play alongside some of the best players in South Africa.” said Goncalves. Through JVW, Cayla took part in the Vodacom NXT LVL challenge, where she was one of two players from club who won the competition (amongst boys), that afforded her a full high school scholarship as well as all football costs. Cayla has already set her goals for the future, and is out to leave her mark. Some of those goals include making it to the starting XI during her freshman year as well as representing her country one day. “I definitely owe my success to my family, who have supported me all the way, more especially my mom who has never missed a single football match.” she added
The years that Danica has spent at JVW has not only taught her to become a better footballer, but also invaluable characteristics that have made a positive impact in her life. “Being at JVW I have learnt that responsibility for your actions and respect always comes first. I know I always have to give my best and as long as I have a ball at my feet, I’ll definitely be my happiest.” said Lotter. While tackling her Business Marketing degree, Danica would like play her utmost best, achieve personal growth and leave a lasting name for herself. Owing her success to her loving family, friends and God, she also owes it to herself through her constant resilience and never give up attitude, despite the concerns and doubts from others along the way.
Former JVW Player, Leah Bennet has also sealed a move and will be joining Danica at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, which becomes an added benefit of having a friend and teammate from the same Country and club structure. Before her departure from JVW FC to further her studies in Cape Town, Bennett won the JVW Senior Team 2018 Attacker of the Year Award.
Bennett (pictured above) spent a few seasons at the club, before relocating to the Cape and like Goncalves and Lotter, also represented her school in the JVW School League.
‘We have been lucky to have coached them during a part of their football journeys. All three of them share similarities in that they are all extremely hard working players, they never give up and always strive to be better. We are so happy for them and would like to wish all the players well in their new endeavours. The beauty of developing players, is seeing them take their acquired skills to new heights and showcase them on bigger stages.Unathi Mabena – Senior Team Coach