Fútbol and Me…My Past, Revealed

27 Aug

This is not about food.

One of my former teammates just reminded me that 15 years ago today, we — the very first Puerto Rico Women’s National Team for soccer (or fútbol or football, if you prefer) — were headed for Canada and our very first international match, which happened to be a World Cup Qualifying Tournament for the CONCACAF spots.

Can you find me in this crowd? This is just before the ass-kicking, as you can see from the smiles. And the fact that we are still mostly vertical.

Can you find me in this crowd? This is just before the ass-kicking, as you can see from the smiles. And the fact that we are still mostly vertical.

We didn’t expect to qualify for the tournament, but Jamaica pulled out and there were were, on a plane, a ragtag crew of women over thirty, youngsters who had just started playing, with three weeks of practice together…yeah, it wasn’t looking good.

We drew Canada in our first match. An untested team from nowhere, versus one of the top ten teams in the world. In front of 5,000 people. And broadcast live on Canadian national television. And did I mention that I was the captain?

We got, well, clobbered, to the point where we made SKY News, the BBC, Sports Illustrated and so many more international sports news outlets…Our 15 minutes of fame was utterly global and markedly less than glorious… I don’t publicize the score.

But….lo bailado nadie te lo quita. (No one can take the dances you’ve already danced). We survived and I am the proud bearer of three international caps in the best sport in the world (which still makes me a goddess in England and is good for many a free pint there) and many on that original team went on to make a thriving soccer program for girls on the island. They don’t get clobbered anymore.

So cheers to all who participated and good luck to those playing now!

As the sun sets on our dreams of...if not victory, then at least a respectable score. It was not to be....

As the sun sets on our dreams of…if not victory, then at least a respectable score. It was not to be….

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4 Responses to “Fútbol and Me…My Past, Revealed”

  1. Ari August 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    For those of us who dreamed of a chance to play football at the highest level you are a beacon of light and a source of admiration. A real international footballer!

  2. Mad Dog August 27, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    I would guess middle left 😉

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