After a successful trial in Croatia, Indian women’s national team player Soumya Guguloth and her club teammate Jyoti Chouhan -- both of whom won the Indian Women’s League (IWL) last season with Gokulam Kerala FC – have now signed a year-long contract with Croatian giants Dinamo Zagreb.

Soumya and Jyoti are now the first ever international players for Dinamo Zagreb women’s football team.

“I'm very excited to play out of the country, this is a great opportunity for me. I never expected to play for a club like Dinamo. This will be helpful for me and my family and my country. I hope to give my best during the season. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me”, says Soumya.

“This is a great opportunity for me, and I feel lucky that I got this platform. I will use this platform and give my 100% and will work hard to learn more and perform better when I am at Zagreb, Croatia , representing Dinamo,” said Jyoti as she prepares to join her Gokulam teammate for this season at Dinamo.

Dinamo Zagreb is the most successful club in Croatia having won 46 trophies. Their men’s team is in the UEFA Champions League 2022-23 group stage, alongside European powerhouses like Chelsea, AC Milan and Salzburg.

ZNK Dinamo Zagreb, the women’s team, has similar ambitions and it hopes that these two girls from India can help them achieve their goals.

“Step by step the puzzle was put together and in the seventh year of club’s existence (since becoming the women's team of Dinamo Zagreb), we took a step higher. I believe that the girls that are coming will justify the coach’s trust, “ said ZNK Dinamo club President, Josipa Maslać Petričević.

Head Coach Marija M. Damjanović said the players would boost the team. “I’m satisfied. We are signing players that are necessary for boosting our team.”

Croatia is among the top performing countries in the world and made it to the FIFA World Cup final in 2018 where they lost against France.

Soumya and Jyoti were among the 12 players who took part in the recently-held Women In Sports Elite Trials held at Kolkata’s premier sporting club, Calcutta Cricket & Football Club.

The camp was organised by Women In Sports in partnership with Debanjan Sen Foundation & Football Players Association of India.

“This endeavour of promoting sports among girls, especially coming from socially and economically backward communities is laudable. We need more such success stories to motivate talented girls from rural India. Wishing Soumya & Jyoti all the best for their tenure with Dinamo club”, commented Mr. Sanjay Thade, IAS (Retd.) OSD in the rank of Additional Chief Secretary, Classes Welfare & Tribal Development Department, Government of WB, who has supported this endeavour continuously by ensuring the girls get appropriate kits for the camp and their upcoming football journey.

During this period, the 12 girls were coached, assessed and trained by coaches from five international clubs (Rangers WFC, Marbella FC, ZNK Dinamo Zagreb, Western Sydney Wanderers FC and Melbourne Victory FC) in the hopes of getting selected and being offered a professional contract.

They also played two friendly matches with the local boys’ teams in Kolkata.

While all coaches were pleasantly surprised by the level, technique and experience of the girls, ZNK Dinamo Zagreb were quick to call Jyoti and Soumya to Croatia for their pre-season and extended trials.

The club has offered them season-long contracts to become the first two women from India to play professional football in Croatia.

The Indian duo is the first international signings ever for the Croatian club as the team has been heavily reliant on local talent from their own academy till date.

“It gives us immense pleasure to see our talented Indian Women's Football players get the opportunity they deserve. We hope by joining Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia, they can become even better and help the club as well. Soumya and Jyoti making a mark in Europe will help inspire girls around the country and help Women's Football grow. We wish them all the best”, says Sanaya Mehta Vyas, Director of Women In Sports.

We would like to thank AllSport Foundation for their support in ensuring the smooth trial for the girls in Croatia.

This historic move could not have been possible without the belief and support of AMPL Foundation, Kolkata.