NATIONAL footballer Victoria Swift says she is trusting in God to have a successful season as she begins a new chapter of her career with Mexican premier-division club Leon.
The 26-year-old defender has previously played in the US with FC Dallas and in Iceland with Knattspyrnufélag Fjarðabyggðar. She said she cherishes both those experiences but is excited to kickstart the Mexican chapter.
The team announced the signing on Friday.
She's currently doing physiotherapy to "strengthen back the muscles" around her knee and will be ready to make her debut in the coming weeks, wearing the number six.
She got a knee injury in 2012 while playing with the national team.
"I'm hoping that it's in about two weeks that I get to (debut)," she told Newsday.
"A lot of fans – especially in Mexico – have been asking, 'When are you going to start playing? We need you to start.'"
She was actually supposed to return to Iceland in 2020 and had already completed all the paperwork and even organised accommodation there.
"But then, covid19 happened...And with the borders being closed, it was so difficult and we weren't able to get a flight."
So she wasn't able to play football for a while, owing to outdoor restrictions because of the pandemic.
But she said that year: "I was at one of the lowest points in my life and basically, my junior college coach invited me to a bible study on Zoom...and it was at that moment that I gave my life to Christ.
"So I've just been saturating myself in the word (of God) and building that relationship with him. And by me doing that, all the stress of the uncertainty just melted away."
A colleague of hers, who also plays in Mexico, told recruiters about her and then the dialogue began.
Just three days after her first conversation with officials, she was on her way to Mexico.
"It was so abrupt," she said.
These recruiters were from another club – C.F. Pachuca.
But that club had a business relationship with Leon and "They told me the coach really wants me at Leon and they said they were fully aware I had to do rehab (on my knee) and they would do it for me."
"At that moment, I knew it was God. Because I kept thinking, 'There is no way a team is going to sign a player knowing that she's not going to be able to play right away.
"I spoke to God about it and I just signed the contract."
She said when she met her teammates and coach, she felt like she belonged there.
Recently, the senior men's national team experienced racist attacks during and following their 0-0 draw against Mexico.
Swift said while she's aware those types of fans, unfortunately, exist in the football world: "I won't be phased.
"I saw the comments and stuff but I didn't focus on it. When you focus on something for too long, that's when you start to worry about it."
She said she didn't know any Spanish before moving there but can understand basic conversations for now.
"Slowly but surely, I'm getting better."
She said when the team posted about her on social media, "Mexican fans flooded my Instagram welcoming me to the club.
"It was warm welcomes across the board from fans to coaches and players."
She said she hopes through her talent, recruiters in Mexico would become more interested in seeking out players from Trinidad and Tobago.
The Freeport native told Newsday, "It's also about helping those who come after me to get these types of opportunities or even better opportunities than I got in my entire playing career."
Leon is currently third on the Liga MX table with nine points, and last season, finished sixth.
Swift said the support from T&T football fans has also been great.
The five feet, nine inches tall defender is ready to dominate the league.
Swift signs for Club Leon in Mexico.
By Walter Alibey (T&T Guardian).
Twenty-six-year-old senior national women's team defender Victoria Swift became the first T&T player to sign with a Mexican club in the Women's Premier Division- Club Leon.
Swift is the sister of national netballer Daystar Swift. She joined the club on August 1 and during an interview on Sunday, she told the media that her most difficult challenge to date was the high altitude condition. However, as a fan of the popular delight tacos, Swift said she was also forced to move away from tacos to cooking her own meals, in a move to obtain the nutrition she needs for the field.
"I've been in Mexico since August 1, so obviously I had the opportunity to adapt to the food and stuff. I think the hardest part was the high altitude, my body is still adapting to it. I love tacos, so coming to Mexico I thought I'll be able to eat tacos anytime I wanted, but I had to switch from eating the tacos constantly to cooking my own meals," a smiling Swift explained.
In 2017, Club León Femenil plays in the Liga MX Femenil, the highest division of women's football in Mexico.
The USA-based Swift previously played in Iceland with KFF/Höttur/Leiknir F, and in the USA with FC Dallas.
She also played college soccer at Navarro College and the University of West Florida.
Swift said she also encountered difficulties with the training sessions, having not played in T&T in a long time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With football in T&T at a total standstill for the past 18 months, Swift was required to train in the morning time from 7 am and then head straight to the gym for another workout. She told the media that the club was aware she had not played football in a while due to the pandemic so they decided to work with me.
During her first few times in training, Swift said her body appeared to have gone into shock either from not training constantly or not being involved at such high-intensity training for so long.
Watch Vibes with Vicky - T&T's newest overseas signing tells us about her move to Club Leon