In the early ’90s, a friend’s sister asked me if she could lead a group of college women who love watching and playing football. He asked me about this because at the time I was relatively well known in the East Campus for my dedication to football.
What was my spontaneous response? Women playing soccer? His reaction was instant too, that’s what you think! There are many of us who love football and there is no problem with that. I see that you are unfortunately macho. Before this interrogation, I paid more attention to him and listened to his arguments. These were so compelling that I had to step back and, therefore, decided to be the coach, or coach as they say here in Spain, for an unprecedented and challenging group of university students.
I think we trained two or three times and then, due to a lack of quorum, we suspended the activities. I was told it was due to lack of time, although I would never know if this women’s college football was not fully developed due to the incompetence of DT. I may not have been up to the task and will never know, although I must admit, after many years, I enjoyed being the coach of these guys. Anyway, this was my first foray into women’s football.
My second orientation will be in the United States and in its capital, Washington, DC, no less. It was there that I understood on the site why Gringas was ranked number one in the FIFA rankings. If you don’t know, I share what would be, in my opinion, the reasons for it:
In childhood, football is a part of the sports curriculum for both boys and girls. This is a very interesting fact, because as sports psychologist Pavel Koopman, with whom I discussed this, points out, girls, for example, are more technical than boys, and of course more mature at that point.
Likewise, in some amateur leagues or leagues, women are required to be registered on the team’s payroll. Even one of them must be from the first minute to the end on the field. As an example, I tell you that in the annual football tournament organized by the Organization of American States (OAS) (at least, between 2013 and 2018) it was necessary to include women in the respective teams.
Another reason North America has the best women’s team is the result of their universities, because they promote this sporting discipline. As it is known, studying in the United States involves huge expenses, and therefore obtaining a sports scholarship is necessary for a family who cannot finance a professional career. Thus, women’s football becomes an option or a possibility to access a higher education center.
In the same way, it must be remembered that Anglo-Saxon public opinion, especially since this century, has been supportive of gender equality and equity. For this reason, in this Anglo-Saxon vision or conception, it should not be strange or unusual for a group of girls and/or women to decide to play football, as it would be, for example, to do this sporting activity in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
As a result of the above, the number of fans has increased significantly in the United States, but also in the rest of the world, which is why the sport will be the most practiced by women all over the world.
My third style in women’s football was in Spain, the country that ranks eighth in the FIFA rankings and has the best female professional footballer (Golden Ball award), Alexia Putillas. What did Spain do to become a force in women’s football? According to the director of women’s football for the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Ana Alvarez, the administration of the president of the federation – Luis Rubiales – has been instrumental in promoting the development and diffusion of women’s football. It has achieved this thanks to the human and financial contributions that have been made. It should be noted that I personally visited the place where the women’s football team trains, and I testify that it is a luxury, which is worthy of imitation.
Another reason why Spain is a footballing power today is due to the cultural change that has been progressive. Spanish public opinion today is interested in what is happening with “La Roja” or “Las Sonadoras”. They have become national figures, like their coach Jorge Velda. Their matches are broadcast live on open TV and they have more and more viewers and sponsors.
At this point, and only for reference, I would like to point out that our country ranks 39 on the FIFA list and has the best goalkeeper in the world in its ranks, Christian Endler. Despite this site, Professor Pavel Koopman considers our women’s team to have enormous potential, but this, dear reader, will be the topic of another column.
On the other hand, I cannot miss the opportunity to highlight the recent victory of the England national team, Las Leonas, who for the first time in their history won the European Women’s Cup against arch-rivals Germany, at the emblematic Wembley Stadium and before that. 90,000 spectators. This victory caused a real explosion of jubilation across the UK and was widely reported by the BBC. Referring to the lionesses, the Queen of Great Britain, Elizabeth II, said: “They set a wonderful example who will serve as an inspiration to the girls and women of today in generations to come.”
Who would have thought, reading this epilogue, that the FA, in 1921, banned women’s official matches on the grounds that kicking the ball was not “appropriate” for them.