Bruna Benites has just won the International Women’s Club Championship in Japan with her team São José and is the captain of the Brazilian Women’s National Football Team.
The reliable defender plays a key role in São José’s long-term success in Brazil as well as their recent victory in Japan, defeating Arsenal Ladies 2-0 in the Final to be crowned Champions.
Bruna and the Brazil Women’s National Team are about to to compete in the 2014 International Tournament of Brasilia against USA, China PR and Argentina. In an exclusive interview with Women’s Soccer United the São José defender discusses the success at club level, her recent experiences in Japan, and Brazil’s preparations for the Algarve Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015.
Women’s Soccer United: Firstly, congratulations for another title and thank you for the interview.
Bruna, you have won all possible titles with your club (São José EC), including two-times Champions of the Brazilian Cup, three-times winners of the Libertadores Cup and now you have won the International Women’s Club Championship in Japan. In your opinion, what makes São José a winning team and what tips would you give to other teams in South America to achieve similar successes?
Bruna Benites: Many people ask me this question and I always say that the most important thing is the continuity of the work. Fortunately, we are given a very large support from the city of São José dos Campos and this is rare in Brazilian women’s football because every year some teams fold. I believe that if there were other projects such as the São José, our women’s football would be much better than it is.
WSU: How was the experience of playing in Japan, against teams like Arsenal Ladies and Urawa Reds?
Bruna: I fell in love with Japan, with the education and the reception we received from the Japanese people. The tournament structure was something that also impressed me. We played and trained in excellent stadiums. They also showed us an Excellence Centre of Sport that serves to prepare Olympians and they said that it is practically all set for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. About the teams we face, they were difficult matches. We played two very different football schools. The Urawa Reds is a team of take lots of touches of the ball and with precision passes and speed. They play all the time on the opponent’s field. On the other hand, Arsenal are a team well trained tactically, tall and very strong physically. We had great difficulty in both games but we knew what lay ahead and we were prepared.
WSU: Besides having an important role in São Jose, you are still the captain of the Brazilian women’s national team. Brazil won the Copa America recently, but the last major tournaments (World Cup and Olympics) has not seen much success for Brazil as before. For you, what is missing for Brazil to be again among the best teams in the world and compete for titles?
Bruna: Certainly the lack planning and investment. While we see every year the women’s football clubs in Brazil closing down, the other countries are evolving, are supporting the sport, doing groundwork, giving good structure conditions for training and so on. Fortunately I think some people are opening their eyes and seeing that we need a change in attitude. Vadão, who is our head coach in the national team, has insisted on it. I hope that next year we have good news!
WSU: Brazil has recently played friendly matches without some of its key players who would normally be in the starting line-up. You have two important tournaments coming up (Brasilia and Algarve) and you will play against very strong teams. In your view, has the time come to play in full force (with a full squad) to give rhythm and rapport for the starting line-up players ahead of the next World Cup or does the coach need to keep experimenting with the squad’s players and formations?
Bruna: In all convocations our desire is that all players are present but this is not always possible. I believe the team already has a base for the tournaments and for the World Cup. We all know that the more time we play together, the more easier things get on the pitch so I hope we can find a team considered “ideal” to give rhythm as soon as possible.
WSU: Would you ever consider playing in a league abroad? If yes, what league would you ideally like to compete in and why?
Bruna: I think every athlete must be prepared for new challenges. This year I had proposals for the three leagues I consider the strongest: American, Swedish and German, but I opted to continue in Brazil. There are several factors that made me stay, but I must confess that it is logical that there is a desire to act in one of these three leagues, because it is high-level football due to the women’s football structure in these countries.
WSU: Finally, who would you describe as the best player you have played against and the best player you have played with?
Bruna: I would say Formiga. In both situations because I’ve played against her, when I played in Foz do Iguaçu, and, currently, we are club team-mates and Brazil Women’s National team-mates. In my opinion, she is one of the best players in currently playing, and mostly she is a great person.
WSU: I would like to thank you again for the interview and good luck in the International Tournament of Brasilia.
Women’s football enthusiast based in Brazil. Supporting and raising the profile of the women’s game.