Melissa Ortiz at the Rio 2016 Olympics


Melissa Ortiz: “Soccer has made me who I am today”

Hi there! My name is Melissa Ortiz, a Colombian National Team player since 2009. Today, I am happy to share that Women’s Soccer United has given me the space to be able to inject my thoughts and stories about women’s football and all of its’ surroundings over the course of time.

Soccer has made me who I am today. I have been extremely fortunate to play this beautiful sport for so many years. Soccer for me not only is a passion but is a way of life. Through priceless experiences and travels, I have genuinely been able to see how soccer provides opportunities and adds culture to people around the world.

Now, to tell you more about my “historia”…

My more competitive years began at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. For four years I was the team leading scorer in addition to various conference awards including Sunshine State Conference MVP. During my freshman year of college in 08/09, I had been scouted by Mario Rincon (the current head coach at Saint Leo University) to try out for the Colombian National Team. Being that both of my parents are Colombian, and me having dual citizenship, it was always my dream to represent my culture, my roots, and country. After missing about a month of classes freshman year, my time in South America was proven valuable. I had made the squad and categorized in the national team pool for the upcoming events. From there I went on to compete in the 2010 Women’s U20 FIFA World Cup, 2012 London Olympics, 2014 Copa America, 2014 Juegos Centroamericanos, and alternate in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Unfortunately, I missed the 2015 Women’s World Cup after tearing my Achilles just four days before the event. I also played professionally in Iceland for KR (Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur) and then for a short time at the Boston Breakers as well as Deportivo Cucuta Gol Star in Colombia.

Melissa Ortiz

A few months ago I made a difficult decision to take a break from competing with the Colombian National Team. For a mix of reasons ranging from the lack of support to no pay, I honestly felt it was time for me to step back and start working on my career off the pitch. There is only so long that we can deal with not being paid. There is only so long that we can play just for the passion of it. There is only so long that we can “accept it” just because supposedly there is no other choice. I am genuinely confident there will be changes made once all veterans come together to take a stand for a common goal. Trust me. My goal is to help make changes for current and future generations of female soccer players in Colombia and around the globe. Thank you Women’s Soccer United for giving me the opportunity to spread my word, knowledge, and thoughts to better serve our soccer world.

  1. ricci eugenio 5 years ago

    Spero un giorno di leggere il rientro sui campi verdi di Melissa come giocatrice retribuita giustamente e anche in futuro come allenatrice in qualche parte del mondo per divulgare le proprie esperienze alle giovani calciatrici.

  2. Chris McGlynn 5 years ago

    Melissa, thanks for your story. The pay issue in the women’s game is a huge issue around the world, at both the club and national levels.

    I hear many stories of women leaving the game over pay, or lack of pay rather. Even in the US and England, supposedly wealthy countries. What do you think fans can do?

  3. Gina West 5 years ago

    Hi Melissa, thank you for sharing your soccer experiences on Women’s Soccer United, I am very excited to read more about your career.

    You are a great role model who displays an incredible dedication and passion.

    It shows great character to be able to bounce back from career set-backs and heartache, (I can’t imagine how hard it was to miss the World Cup due to injury just 4 days before the start).

    I admire your passion for the game and your strength to fight for what you believe is right – in order to make positive change for those in women’s soccer right now and for our future stars.

    It is so sad that you had to take the action to step down because of the unfair working conditions at national level, this should not be happening!

  4. WSU 5 years ago

    Thank you Melissa, what a wonderful introduction. It is awe-inspiring to read about your achievements in women’s soccer so far and we look forward to following your journey as well as hearing your thoughts on the game.

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