Fútbol Superstars

Chicas in soccer are revolutionizing el deporté. Girls as young as four  years old are breaking the boys-club and are creating their own leagues, playing in co-ed teams, and becoming fútbol superstars.

History of women in sports 

There was a time when sports were “boys only” but that quickly changed in 1972. Before the Title IX legislation in 1972, women were not allowed to participate in sports. In 1972, this law mandated gender equity in education which drew women to participate in sports and sports activities. It began with varsity squads growing in college institutions which quickly spread nationally.  The nation established a professional squad in 1985. In 1995, the National Women’s League was launched and, as recently as 2001, the very first professional league made its debut. Women’s soccer took off with such endeavor that cities began to incorporate girls into their teams.

Co-ed soccer

Nahua Romo-Lara, a sophomore at Prairie View A & M  says, “My parents wanted me involved in sports. I started playing co-ed soccer at age 4. [My first two years] were coed, but at age 6, girls were put on girl teams. At that age you don’t notice the differences between guys. We were first introduced to the concept of soccer…so I saw [GUYS] as competition. I am happy where I’m at now. I’m soccer smart. I know what next steps should be. I know when they will kick the ball or when they will run.”

“My mother says I was very good. It was the first sport I tried and I was good at it. Now I am 20 and still play soccer for Prairie View A & M,” adds Romo-Lara.

Liliana Balboa of Houston Texas is one young lady fighting just as hard as any male counterpart to stay on her team. She says, “Well to be honest, it was tough. I remember my dad asking one of the coaches if I could play in his team, but the coach said I was a girl and didn’t know how to play.”

Girls like Balboa are breaking away from these stereotypes and are fighting to prove that women are just as capable as men to make it big in the world of sports!

Gender does not define how well you play in sports.

Women may feel that the social inequalities of being a woman defines them and that joining masculine sports is unheard of, but Balboa says, “That’s when my dad decided to make his own team. I remember my first game like it was yesterday. I was super nervous. Being the only girl on the team and a beginner I could say I wasn’t as good as the guys. The guys would drop me to the ground with no mercy at all. At first, I felt like I didn’t belong. But as my dad coached me, I earned respect when I became…better than many of the guys.”

Others, like Bianca Garza, 19,  from Prairie View A&M, view sports differently.  “Sports should be a hobby and [about] staying fit. It is extremely hard to become a professional athlete and it’s only getting harder. Getting an education ensures that you will be successful in the long run. I think sports, like soccer, should never be more important than education. Sports are unpredictable, [an education is not],” says  Garza.

“My family has always had high expectation of me…but I enjoyed kicking the ball around,” adds Garza.

Finding inspiration in sports

Inspiration is a potential opportunity to strive for success. These three young women say that having someone believe in them helped them continue to play. Balboa says, “My dad is my inspiration and coach. He made a recreational team in Houston at age 8…he took time to support me…no matter what it took, even if I had to play with guys. There wasn’t a game he would miss. If it wasn’t for him, I would not have achieved such greatness in the sport.”

For inspiration, Balboa also looks to other women in her school’s Varsity and Junior Varsity teams to help motivate her endeavors to continue to play soccer. She says, “At every game the opponent’s coach or a girl would compliment my skills.”

“I tell them that practice is key,” she adds.

Whether you want to be the next fútbol superstar or are playing for fun, always remember that girls are just as good as guys. Determination is key! “I think girls have the potential to be just as good as most guys. We just have to be as determined and as hard working as they are,” Garza stressed.

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