In March 1950, the first Costa Rican women’s soccer team debuted in the country. The players were presented in a historic way at the old National Stadium. At that time, Costa Ricans witnessed the unparalleled feat of seeing a group of uniformed women play on the most important court in the country and following all the rules established by FIFA; This without indicate that it still had a long way to go for giving the necessary merit to women’s football in Costa Rica.
Today, 70 years after that first meeting, the visibility of women in football has grown steadily and has managed to capture the attention of the entire country, thanks to the achievements that Costa Rican women’s teams have obtained in recent years.
Facts that drove growth
“The fans came and filled the National Stadium with more than 35 thousand people to support the women’s and under-17 teams; that is a fact that speaks for itself”; comments the coordinator of women’s teams Amelia Valverde, referring to the match between the Venezuelan and Costa Rican teams in the U-17 Women’s Cup held on Costa Rican soil.
Said World Cup and the qualification for the Women’s Soccer World Cup in the highest category, are events that, according to the eCoach, consolidated the interest of organizations and the fans in women’s soccer.
As Valverde points out, those moments set a precedent for the performance of the women’s teams and thanks to the minor leagues and grassroots football programs were established, the regional team program was consolidated and the number of players were greatly increased.
Visibility as an added value
Women’s football is more present in the fan’s retina and this has been key to its growth. Advances in support and visibility have led to consolidated national teams to give the space that women deserve in this sport. At present, the country has 8 teams in the first division national championship, and most of the matches are broadcast by television and radio signals.
“The visibility of the girls has been decisive. Unfortunately now it is not the same as two years ago, since we are going from the past years when no games were being broadcasted, to the present when we have games on television,” Amelia comments.
For the coach, the openness of the media is important and despite the fact that the motivation of the players is still there despite all setbacks, the media attention is an added value to raise the public’s interest in women’s football.
“Being broadcasted and in sports shows on Sunday’s are allowing information about the women’s games to be expanded, without a doubt this is a determining factor for the players to have space”; Valverde points out.
A sport that allows growing as a country
In Costa Rica, women’s soccer has been able to open spaces so that many girls can practice it from a young age. Valverde is a faithful believer that sport is a fundamental part of education and the more the practice of it can be encouraged, the better training and recruitment of talent will be reaped over the years.
“At the social level and at the country level, every time there are more athletes, we will have better people and the greatest beneficiary will be all the country”, argues the coordinator of women’s teams.