In 2019 the Vanuatu U-19 team was beaten 13-0 by Australia during the Junior Matilda’s tour of the Pacific.

While not especially memorable on field, what Rita Solomon stood up and said in her post-match interview sparked a revolution of sorts.

Solomon called on the powers that be to invest in the women’s game and not only was that message heard, but a fundraiser saw almost Vt100,000 raised to support the U-19 team. Solomon displayed that same leadership as she went on to captain the squad to a semi-final appearance at the OFC U-19 Championship a month later.

Not shy about speaking truth to power, Solomon backs that with skilful, composed performances on the field, displaying leadership skills as captain of the U-19 team, and slotting into the senior women’s squad with ease.

Domestically, she captains Erakor Golden Star in the Port Vila league, and also represents Team Malampa in provincial competitions.

Although she is far from wrapping up her playing career, Solomon is in training to become a coach, and works as a COMET officer in Port Vila, giving her a solid overview of football development throughout Vanuatu.

If I can make it, you can make it too. Especially now there’s a huge focus on women’s football around Oceania… give it a go.