The words ‘live and breathe football’ seem a perfect way to describe Spanish international Verónica Boquete’s relationship with the sport.
Relentless dedication, the ability to read a game, and a natural goalscorer Verónica Boquete is one of the most recognisable names in modern day football. Verónica has made a positive impact in every league she has competed in and continues to improve and develop her game.
Currently competing in the Allianz Frauen-Bundesliga with 1.FFC Frankfurt, Verónica Boquete spoke to Women’s Soccer United about making history with Spain by qualifying for the World Cup, her experiences at Tyresö FF and her trademark goal celebration.
Women’s Soccer United: Spain has qualified for their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 following a very successful qualifying campaign. Congratulations, how does it feel to know you have secured your place on the World stage in Canada?
Verónica Boquete: We are so happy. It is a dream come true. We have been waiting for this moment not just over the last months but for years!! It is a big step that has put our sport where it deserves to be.
WSU: During Spain’s Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign, the men’s team published a video showing their support and encouragement. Since you first started playing football, how are things changing in regards to equality and acceptance of the women’s game and what could be improved for the future?
Verónica: It is obvious that things are changing in Spain, but still so slowly. Videos like that can’t confuse us, we still have a long way to walk. But I remember that when I first started playing, there were just a few girls that played soccer, there was not girls teams in as many cities, there was not any information about the women’s league or national team. Now, we have success in all the national teams, the league is getting strong, thousands of girls are playing and media talk about us sometimes. And the most important, young girls are starting to know female players that show them the way and all the possible options.
We have to fight a lot still, to change society’s mentality in Spain, make an impact in the education, get more followers, have the maximum support from federation, institutions and clubs, etc.
WSU: Looking back to Euro 2013, many were surprised at the passion and determination displayed by the Spanish WNT which saw you progress to the knock-out stages. Do you think that Spain will spring a surprise at the 2015 Women’s World Cup and are there any other teams that you think could surprise people?
Verónica: That is the plan!! Our team have so much talent, we have more players with international experiences, younger players are coming through into the senior squad after achieving success in big tournaments and after the European Championship, we are stronger as a team, now we know that we are so close to the “big” national teams and we can achieve the “last jump”. We have 8 months to continue growing and find the way to show all our talent in Canada. We have a sentence that is our “slogan”: Soñar en grande (Dreaming big: to dream with big things) and we believe in that, we believe that we can do it.
I am so curious about Switzerland, I think that they can be a surprise, also Scotland if they qualify from the play-offs.
WSU: The Women’s World Cup is a great global platform for players to showcase their talent. What players do you think will stand out at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015?
Verónica: Mmmm.. That is hard to answer! There are so many good players in every team, but to have a big individual impact in a World Cup depends a lot on your national team and how far you progress. I think that all the “big names” will be ready to show up but also, I believe that others will become stars.
WSU: It must have been an emotional experience being part of the Tyresö FF journey, which enjoyed league success and a thrilling UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign. Was it difficult to focus on matches near the end of your time there when the club was struggling to survive? What are your fondest memories that you take away with you from your time in Sweden?
Verónica: Tyresö’s journey is for sure the best part of my career. I won titles, I lost others, I enjoyed playing soccer more than ever, I made life friends, I became a better player and I made some of the best memories of my life.
The last few months were intense and emotional, but it was then that we realized how much we love this sport and how much passion and compromise that players and the coaching staff had.
To be focused on the games was what made us survive. We trained more and better than ever and we fought together until the end. To lose in that final (Champions League) it was so hard, because after everything, we felt we deserved to win, because we saw on the field that we were the best team in Europe.
“Find a way”, “our best it’s good enough”, always to find the passion, be calm and focus on your final goals, some memories and conversations with team-mates, and with Tony (Gustavsson), will always be with me. I miss Tyresö a lot.
WSU: Following your time at Tyresö FF you made the move to the National Women’s Soccer League club Portland Thorns FC where you completed the 2014 season. How was the experience and how did it compare to your previous time in USA when you competed in the WPS?
Verónica: It was great, even though we didn’t accomplish our goal, which was the NWSL title. But to play in Portland it was a life experience, to play in front of the best fans in the world is something unique and I enjoyed every day there.
WPS had more international players so that for sure give a higher level but this NWSL is growing and I hope it can have more success every year.
WSU: You recently signed for the German Allianz Bundesliga club 1.FFC Frankfurt. It is early days but could you tell us about your experiences so far and have you noticed any differences/similarities playing in Germany compared to the other countries you have played in?
Verónica: I said it before I arrived here and I can say it again now, to play in Germany is the biggest challenge of my career. Bundesliga is the stronger league and every game is so hard, every practice in my team is tough. It is a physical league but also technical and tactical. I need more time, but I guess it is the most complete league I have competed in. The pressure is more aggressive here, you always have someone over you so you have to do everything quick, and also I have to be ready to do the same when it is us who are defending.
WSU: You have already had some coaching experience, is this something you enjoy and would you like to pursue this as a career in the future?
Verónica: Yes. I am sure that when I finish my career as a player I will start another career as a coach. I love soccer, I love to watch games, to analyse games, to train and to find exercises then give solutions. I am already preparing for my future.
WSU: Finally, we all love a good goal celebration, please could you tell us about your trademark goal celebration (hand over face), when did you first start using it and what does it symbolise?
Verónica: It’s an Octopus!! My hand symbolises an octopus on my face. Octopus is the typical food from my region (Galicia) and when I left my home for the first time to play abroad my family and friends asked me about creating a goal celebration that when they see it they will know that it is for them, and one day this “octopus celebration” came to our minds and since then I have been doing it on every goal. Spain, USA, Russia and Sweden already know the Octopus, I hope that soon, Germany will too!!
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.