Women’s soccer: Enough is enough

September 26, 2022
Players from the Spanish women’s national team are setting the record straight amid an ongoing standoff with their federation, and they’re earning support from the international football community along the way.
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SOURCE: JOSE BRETON/PICS ACTION/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: JOSE BRETON/PICS ACTION/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: Players from the Spanish women’s national team are setting the record straight amid an ongoing standoff with their federation, and they’re earning support from the international football community along the way.

The timeline: News broke Thursday that 15 La Roja players threatened to resign from the team unless head coach Jorge Vilda was fired, citing significant impact on their “emotional state and health.” Trouble is, that report came from the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) not the players themselves.

  • Reigning Ballon d’Or Féminin winner Alexia Putellas and co. released their own statement the next day, pushing back on RFEF and refuting the resignation reports. They noted they had only wished not to be called up to the national team until the federation addressed concerns about their physical and emotional well-being. Simple enough.
  • “We are sorry that in the context of feminine sport we have to get to this length…to be able to make progress in a professional and powerful project and ambitious [sic] for the present and for future generations,” the players concluded in their statement. It’s bigger than fútbol.

Zooming out: Fresh off a battle with their federation over equal pay, a handful of USWNT stars publicly backed the Spanish squad. Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn expressed support on social media, which is especially noteworthy as the U.S. is set to travel to Spain for a friendly next month.

  • Spain’s stand also comes during an era of player empowerment in women’s soccer. With athletes in the NWSL refusing silence, the USWNT achieving equal pay and other international squads pushing to follow suit, this is just the beginning. LFG.
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