‘Sydney Generation’: girls who want to be Alexia, Olga Carmona or Aitana fill the soccer schools

Adriana played soccer with her father as a child, but she never signed up for any team. For some reason, she was “embarrassed.” Last year, while in a new school, she little by little began to shoot with her classmates in the schoolyard. She gained confidence and, thus, she explains that she managed to get more and more of the ball passed to her. One year later, with 11 years of age and that security gained, modesty was over. “I told myself: I don’t care, I’m going to sign up.“. And said and done.

It’s a Tuesday and the Carabanchel Soccer School field is packed with girls like Adriana. They come here about two days a week to prepare for the start of the season. There they are, by categories, training dribbles, passes and shots on goal. They no longer have to fight for their schoolmates to pass the ball to them: Now they are the ones who shoot, score goals, defend and have fun playing sports.. All between friends.

The Carabanchel Soccer School has 20% more girls enrolled this season. ALBA VIGARAY

All of them add up to 240, 40 more than last year. That means a 20% increase in registrations. The images of Alexia Putellas raising her two Ballon d’Ors, of the women’s Barça celebrating the Champions League, of the Spanish team being crowned world championand the broadcast of the women’s league matches are reaching the little ones, who no longer see football as a men’s sport, but as another activity they can do with their friends from school.

All the girls this newspaper has spoken to woke up early and stopped going to the beach in the summer to watch the national team with their family; They all follow the women’s soccer league and some even aspire to reach as high as Alexia Putellas.

Early preparation

The clubs’ commitment to these women’s teams and to promoting quality training from a very young age is also noticeable. In this school in Madrid they have, for the first time, a team of juniors. Candelaan eight-year-old girl who is presented as the ‘Alexia de Carabanchel’ and “superfan of the Spanish team” plays in it, although he has been here for about three years. Until now it had to compete with the majors.

—Who is your favorite player? We asked her.

—Alexia Pute… Olga Carmona.

—Is the correction because Alexia is from Barça and you are from Madrid? Does it generate conflict for you?

—Yes, he answers laughing.

Neither she nor Daniela, 10 years old, have missed a single game of the women’s soccer team in this World Cup. When asking the second if she has scored many goals – she plays as a forward – she answers humbly: “Yes, well… Eight goals in two games“. “The thing is, I love football. “I really enjoy playing, running, dribbling, passing it to my teammates…” she continues.

Daniela during training at the Carabanchel Soccer School. ALBA VIGARAY

Those responsible believe that one of the differences between them and them is that the former are most humble. “I, who have been on both sides, see that many times they are more grateful than in men’s soccer“explains Sergio González, coordinator of the female part of the School. “I am super excited. I went to any sport lazily, but here it’s like: I have football, here!” says Adriana, who plays in Alevín II B.

“This is a grassroots soccer school. Here we don’t look for the result but rather the satisfaction of the kids. We want them to play sports and be happy. Our main objective is for them to get hooked on soccer and continue playing. We have girls who don’t “They had never played, they practically did not even know how to hit the ball. And you see them now, four years later, and the progression has been spectacular,” he adds. Jose Luis Polopresident of the School.

“We have had to take facilities from another field,” González continues. This year in Infant there are already four teams, where they are placed by level. When it comes to teaching it is easier. Because the difference between women’s soccer and men’s soccer is that, in the past, there were girls who started playing with others who had been playing for four years, so homogeneous training was complicated. The good of what There is so much quantity and volume of girls and the space when separating them makes them progress much faster and better“.

New equipment

The Carabanchel Football School is no exception. In Olympia Las Rozas has 350 girls and boys registered this seasonabout 30 or 40 new ones every year. Ana of the Girl, its founder and sports director, explains that behind these figures is the impact that women’s football is having, but also the fame that the club itself has. “But there are other clubs that are finally managing to have a women’s section,” she says.

Name The Majadahonda Lightning Foundation, one of the important clubs in the Community of Madrid that until this year did not have a section. Thanks to about 30 girls registered, this season will feature in its first appearance with girls with a baby team (girls born in 2014 and 2015) and another children’s team (girls born in 2010 and 2011).

Barça ‘shoots’ in Catalonia

In Catalonia, in addition to the Spanish team, Barça mainly plays. That he won a Champions League in the 2020/21 season and another in the 2022/23 season meant a boom in the community, as he explains. Tino Herrero, president of the Ribes Sports Club.

“We have already heard from many clubs that they have finally been able to have women’s teams.” She attributes this to the publicity that has been given to it, which “makes girls now consider soccer as part of a sport for them as well,” like volleyball or handball before.

“Luckily in football there are no longer taboos. Girls can play calmly without being criticized or compared to boys,” she says.

In their sports club they inaugurated this year the Campo Aitana Bonmatí in tribute to the great candidate for the Ballon d’Or and World Cup MVP. The FC Barcelona midfielder is a true reference in her town, Sant Pere de Ribes, a town in the Catalan region of Garraf. “There are many new girls who, when they come to register and you ask them if they really want to play soccer, they answer yes, they they want to play where Aitana plays. It’s an influence. They also know that a couple of times a year he comes here, takes photos with the players and signs t-shirts. She is a very close girl,” says Herrero.

One reason or another is ensuring that the current world champions are assured of relief.

2023-10-03 04:51:16
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