Deyna Castellanos

South America’s Untapped Women’s Football Market

In men’s football, South American players have always been known for their quality with the ball and the greatest players in men’s football were born there. When a star is born in this continent, whether in Brazil, Argentina or another South American country, the big clubs from Europe soon try to attract and hire the next genius on the ball.

Unlike the men’s market, the women’s soccer one is still crawling, although there was a slight increase with the strengthening of leagues around the world, especially in recent years, after the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which we can consider as a dividing line in the women’s football history.

Despite this slight increase, the European market is still very restricted for players from South America. Even though great promises appear every year and even though Marta, the best player in history, has been born in Brazil. But despite the lack of interest from Europe in the South American market, we see some South American players standing out in big clubs in Europe. The big problem is that these players usually go to Europe at an older age, after they have stood out for their national team and usually they start in modest clubs in Europe before attracting the attention of big clubs.

Video: Venezuelan Deyna Castellanos and Argentinean Estefania Banini are key players at their club Atlético de Madrid

In terms of women’s football, the big European clubs prefer yet to attract and invest in young prospects from their own territory or from neighboring countries, as happened with Dutch player Miedema and Polish Ewa Pajor, who were signed at an early age by big clubs and, today, are top players in Europe.

However, with the strengthening of leagues and increased competitiveness worldwide, clubs will have to expand their horizon to other continents and hopefully clubs understand that women’s football in South America is a market that needs to be explored, mainly for its quality of their players, who generally cannot reach their full potential, due to lack of investment.

Video: Chilean Christiane Endler is another example of a successful South American player in Europe. For many considered to improve today’s goalkeeper

The big clubs’ scouts should pay more attention to the local South American championships, especially the Brazilian, which has grown a lot in the last couple of years, and the Copa Libertadores, which is the version of the Champions League in South America.

Talking about the Brazilian championship, although Brazil has not done well in the last Olympics, due to the preparation that was greatly affected by COVID’s restrictions, the arrival of the Swedish coach, Pia Sundhage, was something very positive for the local championship. Sundhage has been helping change the local mentality of clubs, to invest more in the physical training of the players, in tactical obedience and in the increase in game intensity. In addition to her presence, Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) also brought two former players, Aline Pellegrino, as coordinator of Brazilian tournaments, and Duda Luizelli as coordinators of the Brazilian women’s national teams, who also added a lot in the development of the women’s game in Brazil.

Video: Fantastic goal scored by Corinthians, current champion of the Brasileirão Feminino

As a contribution, I would like to indicate here some young players who have been standing out in women’s football in South America and that the big clubs in Europe should keep an eye on:

Name: Linda Caicedo

Age: 16 years old
Country: Colombia
Current Club: Deportivo Cali – COL
Height: 1.62m
Position: Forward
Linda Caicedo is a footballer phenomenon! She was one of the key players of Deportivo Cali to conquer the 2021 Colombian women’s league against Santa Fe club, the current champion. Despite her young age, Linda plays and delights everyone with her excellent football!

Name: Tarciane

Age: 18 years old
Country: Brazil
Current Club: Corinthians – BRA
Height: 1.87m
Position: Defender
The young athlete from the Brazil U20 WNT is very good defensively and offensively in set pieces, no wonder she is known as the Brazilian Renard, in honor of the great French defender of Olympique Lyonnais.

Name: Esperanza Pizarro

Age: 20 years old
Country: Uruguay
Current Club: Nacional – URU
Height: 1.70m
Position: Forward
Pizarro is a young and skilled athlete from Uruguay who played in youth categories from Uruguay and now is a key player for the senior team.

Name: Gisela Robledo

Age: 18 years old
Country: Colombia
Current Club: América de Cali – COL
Height: 1.63m
Position: Forward
Robledo is one of America de Cali’s top players and one of the youngest promising players in Colombian football.

Name: Lauren

Age: 19 years old
Country: Brazil
Current Club: São Paulo – BRA
Height: 1.78m
Position: Defender
Lauren, the captain of the Brazil U20 WNT, was one of the best defenders of the 2021 season of the Brasileirão Feminino Neoenergia (Brazilian championship). She recently received her first call for the senior national team after having caught the attention of Pia Sundhage coaching staff.

I would also like to mention a “not so young” but very talented player who should already be shining in Europe:

Name: Adriana

Age: 24 years old
Country: Brazil
Current Club: Corinthians – BRA
Height: 1.64m
Position: Forward
What Adriana is still doing in Brazil I don’t understand! Adriana has been unlucky in the last big tournaments, she was one of names on the call list for the last Women’s World Cup and Olympics for Brazil, but was cut at the last minute due to injury. The player who has the nickname “maga” was one of the highlights of the last She Believes Cup edition and she is currently one of the best Brazilian players. Adriana is a complete athlete, she could be in the eleven starting line at any club in Europe.



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