Meet Shirley Cruz, The First Female Soccer Player In Costa Rica

    The most successful professional Central American soccer player

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    Shirley practicing soccer

    Shirley Cruz Traña (Born August 28, 1985, in San José, Costa Rica), is a Costa Rican soccer player who currently plays in the Chinese club Jiangsu Suning of the Chinese Women’s Super League. She was the first female professional soccer player in Costa Rica and is the most successful Central American player as a professional soccer player

    As a Costa Rican football player, she has played with the French club Paris Saint-Germain FC of the Women’s Division. Previously, she played for Olympique Lyon, with whom she was six times champion of France, won two French Cups and two Champions League. Her name is known throughout Costa Rica and beyond. A typical case of how, through a sports discipline, human beings overcome and succeed, after defeating a series of obstacles due to gender discrimination

    At almost 32 years of age, Cruz has accumulated twelve seasons in France with 67 goals in 294 matches (37 points with Olympique Lyon between 2006-2012 and 30 with PSG since 2012). He has won six titles in the French league, four runners-up, two Cups, and two women’s Champions.

    It was at the end of that month that she transcended her fourth nomination to be the best player in French football. The recognition at the end was not given, but the mere fact of having been among the candidates is an honor for her and for the country. Gone are the years of wearing short hair to infiltrate male teams in the absence of women’s teams to play and show her value.

    National selection

    PSG in Montpellier

    Her debut with the national team was in 2003 against Jamaica, in the classification to the women’s world cup. In final phases of FIFA tournaments she has 8 appearances and 3 goals, for a total of 2 wins, 2 draws and 4 losses.

    Shirley Cruz participated in her first women’s World Cup with the National Team in Canada 2015, a tournament for which she scored 3 goals in the qualifying phase, leading Costa Rica for the first time to a major women’s World Cup victory. In the World Cup, they tied 2-2 with the Republic of Korea, 1-1 against the Spanish national team and lost 0-1 against Brazil, being eliminated in the group stage. The game against Spain was the first game in which she played 90 minutes that year after knee surgery to which she was subjected in France.

    Shirley’s commitment to the national team is remarkable. In fact, in 2014 she received a sanction from her club, PSG, for traveling to play a pre-world cup game on a date not scheduled by FIFA without having the authorization of the club. The penalty consisted of a fine but put at risk her contract continuity. This is not the only penalization she has faced for traveling on unauthorized dates to play with the National Team.

    Shirley recalls how she would leave her hair short to pretend to be a man. This allowed her to filter between male teams and thus have the option to play football. At a time when women’s clubs were in short supply, Cruz had to open up a field to later become Costa Rica’s main reference in women’s football. The short-haired girl who played with boys became big. The hair grew and the magic of his left leg multiplied, enough to enter the story.

    National proud

    This extraordinary athlete says that she went to do a try out with Jiangsu Suning and stayed, where they confirmed what had been discovered already, that the footballer has immense potential on the court is highlighted by an agile, strong game with strategy.

    The young woman became the second soccer Central American player in Europe, after Gabriela Trujillo, who played with Spanish teams. The work that precedes her arrival in Europe includes a professional debut at the San Carlos National Sports Games in 1999, where she confirmed the talent deployed years later when she played indoor soccer at the Rincón Grande de Pavas School.

    Cruz is originally from the Josefino district, a territory where the extremes of society coexist: wealth that borders on opulence and extreme poverty. “Growing up there, you had to cry, and I cried a lot. I fought hard to earn respect both in life as in sports”.

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