As the crowd roared and duct tape cannons blew tiny pieces of gold foil into the air, the 2015 Women’s World Cup was over. The United States made history by winning their third World Cup title, the first women’s football team to do so, and capped a tournament that took women’s football to new heights.
From the increase in the number of competing teams to new tournament audience and attendance records, the 7e edition of the tournament showed new popularity for the sport. Cash prizes hit an all-time high, player profiles of the games’ superstars were being rolled out for advertising campaigns and unprecedented grievances over the preferential treatment of men’s football by the football governing body, FIFA had a new audience for them. to support.
As Brazil and Colombia came out in the first of the knockout stages, they highlighted a decline in women’s football in South America. In a continent known for its passionate dedication to football, countries that had long ignored women’s football were now being punished for their lack of investment and ultimately left behind.
South America is on the path to evolution. Macho culture is in decline and women are taking a stand across the continent. The governments of Chile, Brazil and Argentina are all led by female leaders, who dominate a new generation of women breaking free from their old patriarchal chains.
There is no doubt that this development has brought changes to the world of football as well, with acceptance and investment in women’s football finally being granted to a new breed of sports stars from the continent. The captain of the Chile women’s team, Daniela Pardo, highlighted the change in mentality towards the players in her native Chile: “As a child, I was the only girl in the neighborhood to play there. Before, it was almost shameful for a woman. There has been an incredible change. Now it’s seen differently, as something that can help women gain independence. I have become a role model for the young girls in my neighborhood.
The same is true for the traditional footballing powers of the continent – Brazil, Argentina and Colombia – which are now embracing women’s football with the investment and promotion it deserves. The coach of the Colombian women’s team, Felipe Taborda, who despite coming out in the first knockout stage of the World Cup recorded his best performance in his history at the tournament, affirmed that “the improvement s ‘is produced with the support of the Colombian Football Federation. Parents encourage their daughters to play this sport; schools and universities have implemented football programs for women.
These changes are still not without important and historic barriers in women’s football, the ignorance that football federations have nurtured and encouraged by not investing in sport. The 2015 Copa America saw the continent’s men’s teams play alongside the women simultaneously and among many countries in South America, including Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador, all of which competed in the women’s competition. Even top FIFA officials were nowhere to be found at the Women’s World Cup. Blatter and his second in command, Jérôme Valcke, have been mired in a growing racketeering scandal.
Brazil, who made two appearances in the Women’s World Cup and Copa America on the same day, saw general ambivalence towards the women’s team and barely a reaction to their elimination. Brazil, a soccer heavyweight known for five World Cup victories in the men’s tournament, had banned women from playing sports because they saw the game as an assault on “female nature”. This retrograde law was finally lifted in 1979.
An example of the lack of emphasis on women’s football in Brazil was demonstrated in 2011 when Brazilian club Santos significantly increased Neymar’s salary to encourage him to stay with the squad and not be transferred to Europe. This increase was taken from the budget the club had set aside for its women’s team, which was subsequently dissolved.
“We play women’s football for passion, not for fame or money,” said Venezuela International defender Yusmery Ascanio, who is not paid to play for his national team and receives a very small salary from her. Colo-Colo club; which means she has to work alongside her football and unlike players from the United States, Japan, England or Germany, who have all reached the semi-finals of the World Cup this year. year and come from countries where women’s football is supported by professional leagues.
Even soccer superstar Marta, who has been crowned five-time World Footballer of the Year, has had to look for a job outside her native Brazil and currently plays for Swedish club FC Rosengard. “Maybe one day we will have a strong competitive league instead of our female footballers always having to play abroad,” said Marta, who first left Brazil in 2009 to look for job opportunities in the country. women’s football leagues outside the continent.
Women’s football is certainly in a much better position than ever, although its failures at the Women’s World Cup this year only underscore the divide between South American countries and other continents that actively invest and support their teams. female. For a continent as passionate about football as South America, this is an incredible admission from some of its most hard-working sportswomen who leave its women’s teams behind the rest of the world.
However, as the continent continues to produce models such as Marta and Pardo, there is hope that the changes, according to Colombian coach Taborda, have taken place in this country will spill over to other southern federations. -american and will one day see a continent of all -women’s teams supported with as much fervor as those of the men.