Keph Senett is a Canadian writer and activist whose passions for travel and soccer have led her to play the beautiful game on four continents.
Since 2009, she’s visited the international “football family” on pitches in places including Peru, South Africa, Mexico, and Russia where she’s interviewed women and girls who play soccer. She’s currently at work on a book.
Keph spends her free time trying to figure out how to qualify for a soccer squad in Asia, Australia, or Antarctica.
A bio, of sorts
When she was 28 years old and I was only five, my mother separated from my father. She bought a renovated 1950s school bus—a red and silver behemoth with wheels as tall as I—which she named Forward.
From the pillow she used for a boost to see past the enormous wheel and over the hood, my mother opened the doors by hand crank. I’d clamber up the steps and into the cabin where the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom stuck together like boxcars. My mother slept on a double bed in the back, and I had a tiny bunk built above the single closet. It was my first favourite place, a crow’s nest with a small triangular shelf on which I kept a caterpillar in a jar. There was just enough room to sit up in, a book balanced across my knees. I’d outgrow it by the time I turned six, but when we lived there, I was only five.
She and I left Toronto in the spring, driving west towards the Pacific. Refusing to be limited by anything as tedious as geography, my mother’s plan was to drive us to New Zealand. Forward blew a radiator hose in the mountains in the interior of British Columbia, so she traded the busted bus for $500 and a wheelbarrow and started a garden.
I spent most of my childhood years shuttling back and forth between the west coast where I grew up with my mother and my sister, and Toronto, where my father lived. He tells me that when asked at around 20 years old what I wanted to do with my life, I responded, “I want to see the world.” A childhood of identical excursions, it appears, had caught up with me.
It would take me years to build a life of travel—an early collection of my travel writing was titled A Bus Called Forward—and by that time I’d have also developed strong interests in social justice, LGBT and gender, culture, and (implausibly) soccer.
These days I split my time between pursuits, and I’m often lucky enough to involve myself with projects that require travel, activism, and writing. I’m currently obsessed with reworking my collected soccer stories, producing my first audio story, everything about Mexico City, and writing more narrative nonfiction essays about my family.
My father stayed in Toronto—the city that I also call home—but I never seem to stop moving. My mother is still in the mountains of British Columbia, and she’s still gardening.