Women's football in South America

Women’s football in South America

When people think about women’s football in South America, the first thoughts that come to their minds are Brazil’s women national team and names such as Formiga, Marta and Cristiane.

It is true that since the beginning of its trajectory, the Brazilian women’s football has dominated South America and has been its main representative in the international tournaments. Of the seven editions already held of the Copa America, Brazil was champion of almost all the editions, except in 2006, when it was runner-up against Argentina. Furthermore, the Brazilian women’s team participated in all editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup since the tournament was created and was runner-up in the 2007 edition. Already in the Olympic Games, Brazil won Silver Medal in 2004 and 2008 editions.

Brazil has also been home of women’s football in South America at the club’s level. In eight editions of the Copa Libertadores Women, only twice, a representative club of Brazil did not win the tournament. The first time was in 2012, when São José, the Brazilian representative, lost on penalties for the Colo-Colo of Chile and, in 2016 which club Sportivo Limpeño of Paraguay became champion over the Estudiantes de Guárico Fútbol Club of Venezuela, With Brazil’s Foz Cataratas club embittering to third place.

However, there is much more in South American women’s football than only Brazil. Not only the Brazilian players shine on international lands. Other South American players have been able to stand out in the international scene, such as Argentine forwards Estefanía Banini, currently in the Washington Spirit (USA) and Florencia Soledad Jaimes, top scorer and champion of the Brasileiro Feminino in 2017 playing by Santos FC (BRA), Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler, recently hired by Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), after having excelled in the Iberdrola Women’s League for Valencia CF (ESP) and young striker Venezuelan Deyna Castellanos who won the adidas Golden Shoe at FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2014, currently playing in the United States for UWS club, SC Blue Heat FC.

Another highlight of women’s football in South America is the work that Venezuela has been doing with the youth categories of their women’s national team. The U17 Venezuelan women’s football team stepped from an unclassified state on U17 FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2012 to two-quarter places in 2014 and 2016, as well as jumping from a fifth place in 2010 to the U-17 Tournament winners Of South American women’s Football in 2013 and 2016.

Regarding the senior women’s national teams, Chile beat Canada 1-0 at the 2013 International Women’s Soccer Tournament in Brazil , and more recently, Colombia won (2-0) their first match in a Women’s World Cup against France at FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 and managed a 2-2 draw, no less, than with the United States, at the Rio 2016 Olympics. However, for more expressive results, there is necessary more investment in South American women’s football. Since talent, as in men’s football, South American female players have a lot, what is lacking is the physical and tactical part, which prevents the countries of South America (except Brazil) from competing on an equal basis with other well ranked countries. But for this, federations need to invest in national leagues, in youth categories and in an annual calendar of international friendly matches.

Most of the women’s teams in South America have not played friendly matches for years and practically only play international matches during the Copa América. The Bolivia women’s national team, for example, before the friendly match against Brazil in April 2017 made its last friendly in September 2014, that is an gap of almost three years without playing. The situation of Peru women’s national team is even more embarrassing, before being defeated 12-0 by Chile in a friendly in May 2017, the last friendly of Peru’s women’s team had been in November of 2009! Chile who beat Peru was 981 days without playing a match before hosting this friendly. Unfortunately this fact is repeated in almost all women’s national teams in South America, with the exception of a few countries such as Colombia and Venezuela, which make some friendlies sporadically, but mainly from Brazil, which has made many friendly matches in recent years, including hosting an annual tournament in December.

One way would be, by geographic approximation, to make small annual tournaments with countries from South America, so that the national teams do not stay so long periods without playing.

At the level of national leagues, the scenario of women’s football in South America seems to begin to breathe a bit with the requirement that, from 2019, football clubs that do not have women teams will not be able to participate in the Copa Libertadores, which made many men’s football clubs to invest in women’s teams and the Confederations, with the support of Conmebol, to create national women’s football leagues.

We recently had the Brasileiro Feminino 2017 final, between Santos and Corinthians, two traditional men’s football clubs, which also invest in women’s team, in which Santos became champion. In addition to Santos and Corinthians, other major men’s teams such as Flamengo, Sport, Vitória and Grêmio had representatives in the Brazilian Women’s Championship this season who counted with 1st and 2nd division.

The Brasileiro Feminino 2017 had some televised matches and presented good averages of public in the final stage. The record of public in the Brasileiro Feminino happened in a match from Iranduba, in a semi-final against Santos, in the Arena Amazonia, in which more than 25 thousand people attended the game.

Another club that recently broke attendance record was Independiente Santa Fe from Colombia, who won 1-0 (3-1) Atletico Huila in the return game of the Liga Águila and was crowned the first champion of the Colombian women’s professional football league. The team was champion in the presence of more than 33,000 spectators in the stadium Campin, in Bogota. According to Conmebol website (read here – http://www.conmebol.com/es/la-fifa-resalta-el-desarrollo-del-futbol-femenino-en-colombia), this first edition of the Colombian women’s football professional league was attended by 18 teams, which will remain in the new season, starting in January 2018. In October 2018, a third edition will begin with 36 participants, divided into one 1st and 2nd division.

In Venezuela, the Superliga Feminina, which started on May 6, 2017, is underway and has 14 teams. This is the first edition of the professional women’s football league in Venezuela. The tournament will take about eight months and will be divided into two tournaments throughout the year: Torneo Apertura and Clausura. Each lasting for about 4 months.

South America produces great players who, due to lack of investment, can not reach their full potential. Recently Iberdrola League, in Spain, which has been growing a lot in recent years, has believed in this potential and is counting with many South American players. In recent years, many South American players have also sought to play in Brazil, where women’s football is a little more developed than in the rest of the subcontinent.

Recently it was announced the date of the eighth edition of the Copa América women’s football that will be based in Chile from April 4 to 22, 2018. Recalling that the competition qualifies for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, to The Pan American Games of Lima 2019 and for the Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020, being Brazil favorite to the title of the competition. The Copa América women’s football becomes a good opportunity for female football lovers to visit South America and get to know the beauties of Chile, who will be an excellent host. The Copa América also becomes a great opportunity to observe female players and discover new talents.

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1 Comment
  1. ricci eugenio 6 years ago

    Grazie per le interessanti notizie.

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