Jovana Damnjanovic is a Serbian women’s international striker. She has previously played for the women’s Bundesliga teams of VfL Wolfsburg and SC Sand, before having joined Bayern Munich last summer. Damnjanovic has been plagued by major injures of late.
I interviewed her on Friday in our mutual native language of Serbo-Croatian. The American English translation below is mine.
Denis Knezovic : How did you start playing soccer?
-Jovana Damnjanovic: I was in elementary school and played at a local soccer school. I stayed there with friends from my class and trained That’s how it all started.
D.K.: Was that already a female team?
-Jovana Damnjanovic: No, that was a male team and I stayed at that club until age 15.
D.K.: In the Belgrade area?
-Jovana Damnjanovic: In the municipality of Zemun
D.K.: After that, you immediately continued playing soccer?
-Jovana Damnjanovic: Yes, after that I went to the female club of LASK from Lazarevac, which later combined with Red Star Belgrade.
D.K.: Were you among the first girls in Serbian soccer?
– Jovana Damnjanovic: No, women’s soccer was played in Serbia long before I started.
D.K.: How did the contact to German clubs come about?
-J.D.: They saw me at an Under-19 international tournament in which I was top scorer. They then contacted me.
D.K.: Did you ever have to balance work with your soccer?
–J.D.: I never worked a regular job, I’m a professional soccer player.
D.K.: From the start?
D.K.: You won the UEFA Women’s Champions League with Wolfsburg. What was that like?
-J.D.: Truly amazing, a dream come true.
D.K.: Another dream come true must have been playing for your country, when did that happen?
– J.D.: At age 15 vs. Hungary. The call-up came unexpectedly, but I was extremely happy.
D.K.: Do you know how many caps you have for Serbia?
– J.D.: Around 30.
D.K: In Europe, every national association works for women’s soccer at a different level. How is it progressing in Serbia?
-J.D.: There is progress, but we’re still behind the major European powers.
D.K.: How did you come about joining SC Sand, and was the move to a village a culture shock for you?
– J.D.: No, the move to Sand was the best one I could have made at the time and, those two years will always stay with me in the best ways.
D.K.: But then the injuries started too…
-J.D.: Injuries are a major part of soccer.
D.K.:You reached the German Cup final with Sand twice. What was that like?
-J.D.: The final in Cologne truly was a highlight of my time with Sand. Unfortunately, we lost narrowly both times. What remains is sadness that we didn’t win it with that team.
D.K.: Now you’re at Bayern, what chances does the team have to beat Wolfsburg in the Cup final?
-J.D.: I think they’re 50:50, the team with the better day will win.
D.K.: What goals do you still have in your soccer career?
-J.D.: I have many, but first to get well and return to the field.
D.K.: Thanks a lot for the interview and I hope to see you back on the field as soon as possible!
-J.D.: Thank you!