What happened in Brazilian women’s soccer in 2014 and what to look forward to in 2015.
I still remember when I and a few other women’s soccer fans received a tweet from the official account of the Brazilian Sports Minister asking what we were working on for women’s soccer.
How in that time there were few people in Brazil who wrote about women’s soccer and I used to post a lot about this subject, they thought I was working in this “business”, but I answered that I was just a fan. Few times after, I read that the Minister hired a former player as the coordinator of women’s soccer in Brazil and founded a work group to discuss solutions and find a way to develop the modality. Thenceforward, the women’s soccer situation started to change, for better, in my country.
Of course, we all thought it was a “nine day wonder”, but in 2014 the modality remains reaping the fruits of the investments that started in mid-2011, when Michael Jackson (yes, this is her nickname!), was appointed women’s soccer coordinator.
Sad news for 2015 is that the Minister Aldo Rebelo is stepping down and another politician will assume the Ministry of Sports role. In my humble opinion, he was the Minister who did the most for the development of women’s soccer in our country. So, I want to thank him for all he has done for the women’s soccer in Brazil and I want to also wish good luck to the new Minister and hope that he can at least keep all the programs that have been made so far for the modality.
So, let me return to the matter at hand: What happened in Brazilian women’s soccer in 2014?
In this year, the Brazilian women’s soccer Championship remained due to its master sponsor (with a sponsorship of R$ 10,000,000), the Caixa Ecônomica Federal, a government bank. This championship had not happened since 2001 and was reactivated, in 2013, by the Ministry of Sports.
In this second edition, twenty teams participated, from ten different states, distributed in four groups. In my opinion, among these twenty teams, four teams excel in this last season: Ferroviaria (the champion of this season), Kindermann, Centro Olimpico and São José. But we can’t forget the efforts made by Vitoria and Foz Cataratas.
A newness in 2014 was that the betters who wanted to have more chances in sports lotteries had to diversify their knowledge of soccer, since the Brazilian women’s soccer championship became part of the program of our sports lottery! The Brazilian fans could not complain about women’s soccer broadcasting in 2014. The Fox Sports channel broadcasted the Brazilian women’s soccer championship and also the TV Brasil channel that broadcasted only the matches of the semis and the final.
In 2014, we also witnessed the 6th edition of Women’s Libertadores Cup. The federal government invested R$ 600,000 in this cup and São José ensured its second title consecutive. In all editions, Brazil only lost the championship in 2012, when Colo–Colo (Chile) was Champions. The winners of the six editions were: Santos – BRA (2009, 2010), São José – BRA (2011, 2013, 2014) and Colo–Colo – CHI (2012).
In addition to guaranteeing another title in the Copa Libertadores, the São José also showed its strength across the world after winning this year’s edition of the International Women’s Club Championship, the tournament that takes place in Japan.
Another innovation was the creation of the 1st Brazilian University Women’s Soccer Cup, attended by 24 teams indicated by university associations of each state, formed only by players enrolled in universities. The Ministry of Sports has invested R $ 2,003,190.00 to enable the competition.
Now let’s talk about Brazil WNT:
Last April, Oswaldo Alvarez, also well known as Vadão, was hired as Brazil WNT new coach. He came with a huge baggage from training the Brazilian male teams and he is known for having discovered names such as Kaká and Rivaldo. In less than a year, there were two titles conquered with Vadão as the main coach (Copa América and Brasilia International Tournament).
Until now, they have played 16 matches under Vadão’s guidance: eight wins (BOL 1-6, PAR 1-4, CHI 0-2, ECU 0-4, ARG 0-6, ARG 0-4, USA 2-3, CHI 1-4) six draws (FRA 0-0, NZL 1-1, NZL 0-0, NED 0-0, COL 0-0, USA 0-0) and two losses (ARG 2-0, FRA 2-0). Remember that Brazil lost to Argentina in Copa América playing with the reserve team when the team was already classified and Brazil lost to France playing without its main players since the São José’s players were not called due to the Mobcast Cup and Tayla, Fabiana and Cristiane were recovering from injuries. The match against France also marked the return of Marta after almost a year without playing for Brazil.
I must admit I was not much happy with Brazil playing almost a year doing experiments and without its key players. But I told other fans that if São José played well in Japan, Brazil would have a chance against US in December, since São José represented more of the Brazil WNT than the Brazilian team that played against France a few days before. Thank God I was right and São José made a great campaign, in Japan, and Brazil played, for the first time in the year, in the Brasilia International Tournament, with a starting line-up that probably is going to be similar to the starting line-up to the next Women’s World Cup, which probably will have the inclusion of Fabiana and Cristiane.
What I like about this new Brazil WNT:
The majority ball possession. In the matches against the US we had periods with over 70% of ball possession. The team left behind the long passes and prioritized the short passes and ball possession. Brazil looks also more tactically and defensively organized. In my opinion, the left side is the main problem of Brazil. Maurine is playing improvised in this side and I think it is a waste that Andressa plays so set back. I also think Vadão will have a headache when Fabiana returns, because, in my opinion, Poliana deserves to be a regular in the starting line-up. Maybe he should try to experiment Fabiana in the left side. Beatriz also deserves a spot in Brazil WNT, she showed a lot of potential in Brasilia. I believe that the opponents South Korea was very good for her development.
The CBF (Brazilian Soccer Confederation) has given the green light to the creation of permanent women’s national team in 2015 in order to prepare for WWC and Olympic Games. The idea is that the Brazilian team works as a kind of club for the players who do not work abroad, with wages and periods of continuous training. So, following this line, players like Debinha, Rosana, Poliana, Andressa and others will not be part of this permanent WNT.
If the establishment of a permanent Brazil WNT will be positive in the future we are still not sure, but some bad news are already being diffused after its creation. Twenty days after winning an international title, in Japan, all members of São José’s coaching staff were fired and the team will probably lose some key players for the permanent WNT as, for example, the captain Bruna Benites, Formiga and the forward Giovânia.
The seventh edition of the Copa Libertadores will be held for the first time outside of Brazil, in Medellin (Colombia). São José and Ferroviária have already secured their spot. The first for being the current champions of the Libertadores Cup and the second for being the current champions of Brazilian women’s soccer championship.
This new year also will be the year of Brazilian players in NWSL. In total, seven Brazilian players will play in the league this year. Boston Breakers is the team with the most Brazilians (Ketlen Wiggers, Francielle, Andressa Alves and Suzane Pires), in the second place is Houston Dash (Rosana and Poliana) and finally Kansas City (Rafaelle). We also can not forget the American Kika Toulouse and Mariah Nogueira who have Brazilian roots.
The question for 2015 is: Will we see the return of the Santos women’s soccer team?
Some Brazilian players such as Calan, Marta and Erika supported the campaign of Modesto Roma Jr. for the Presidency of Santos FC. Modesto was responsible for the project of “Sereias da Vila”, the women’s soccer team of Santos, and now as the new president he intends to reform the team. Roma already gained a master sponsor for Santos, the Chinese company Huawei, and intends to increase the value of the sponsorship to reform the Sereias da Vila.
And last but not least, Brazil will dispute four tournaments in 2015:
Brazil will play the Algarve Cup for the first time in its history. The team will face in the Group A Germany, Sweden and China. This tournament will serve as a preparation for the WWC.
Second: FIFA WWC, in Canada. Brazil is in Group E with Spain, South Korea and Costa Rica.
Third: Pan Am Games, also in Canada. It is not yet certain whether Brazil will play this tournament. The CBF announced that the U-22 MNT will not play this tournament due to the use of synthetic turf and also announced that they have not decided whether the women’s team will play, but probably the girls will play, as the WNT will play in the same conditions, in the WWC.
Fourth: International Tournament, in December. This tournament is always a pleasure and always brings great surprises! Who was not thrilled with Brazil v USA or Chile v Scotland? Who expected Chile to beat Canada or China to draw against USA? The four first editions were held in São Paulo and, the last two, in Brasilia. The weather is always a negative point of the tournament, due to the summer storms. In my opinion, it would be a great idea if the tournament’s organizers would transfer it to the North-east, due to lack of rain in December in this region and because of the stunning beaches. I would love for the tournament to be held in Maceió, capital of Alagoas, the state where Marta was born and where was opened, days ago, her memorial. I believe it would have a large audience and no weather problems.
I hope you have enjoyed this looong text and I would love to know your point of view about what happened in 2014 in your WNT and what to expect for 2015! Happy New Year! Feliz Ano Novo!