Last updated: 5 December 2023
3 min read

In Partnership with Rebel Girls

Pernille Harder

Danish dynamo Pernille Harder made her dreams a reality. Find out how the letter she wrote herself at age 10 came true, becoming one of the world’s best footballers while fighting for her beliefs.

Pernille Harder. Forward and midfielder, Danish. Born: 15 November, 1992.

When Pernille was 10 years old, she wrote a letter to her future self. In it, she imagined she’d be a professional footballer, one of the best in the world. Pernille didn’t know it then, but her wish would come true.

Growing up in Denmark, Pernille’s favourite thing to do was to play football with her friends in her back garden. The sky would turn from blue to orange to black, with stars twinkling overhead, and she and her friends would still be passing, dribbling, and scoring. Pernille could’ve been outside all night if her parents didn’t call her in for supper.

“Everyone should have the opportunities to succeed in life.”

Football Stories: Pernille Harder

When she wasn’t playing football, Pernille was studying the game. She would watch videos of Brazilian football star Marta Vieira da Silva, and then head back out to the garden to mimic her footwork and strikes.

But as Pernille’s skills improved, the opportunities for her to play competitively in her hometown dwindled. There was no such thing as strength training or extra practices for the girls. She had to fight for a spot on a boys’ team to continue advancing in football.

It wasn’t the last time Pernille would have to stand up for herself as a female footballer.

Football Stories: Pernille Harder

In 2017, after a stellar season, Pernille and her team went on strike, demanding fairer pay. The strike cost them some important matches, but their success empowered other teams to ask for what they deserved.

“Afterwards, we were proud that we had stood up for ourselves and made the change”, Pernille said.

Today, Pernille is considered one of the best female footballers in the world... just as she pictured.

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Illustration by Rut Pedreño

Originally published: 28 September 2023