Monday, December 11, 2023

The gypsy pioneers of women’s football: “We want to break stigmas”

Those who walk its streets confess that they have not seen anything like it. Women gypsies of Leaf (Barcelona) doing sports to compete? There are no precedents, except for some testimonial cases in Greco-Roman wrestling, the discipline in which the humble neighborhood at the gates of Barcelona has stood out. In the face of every athletic aspiration, the traditionthe early assumption of responsibilities, the shelter of family and the neighborhood and loyalty to one identity which, persecuted and stigmatized for centuries, fears being diluted and breaking the fraternal values ​​that it has preserved.

But no custom, none reluctance Nor any foundation, no matter how secular, resists the push of women’s football, a gale with enough force to subvert something more than the ossified football establishments. Its echo also resounds in the gust with which the Tramontana La Mina aerates the slum. It’s a club modestemerged 23 years ago to provide an opportunity to kids whose deficiencies anchor them in periphery. Now he has put together the first team that is formed there with women. They don’t last for a fortnight and they all live in the area, always in a permanent struggle to shake off the prejudices that condition it. The majority are gypsies.

Alba Blanco -29 years old and mother of a 15-month-old little girl – is one of the players of the set, framed in category amateur. She feels that promoting women’s soccer in La Mina is important to beat “the stigmata“that weigh” on gypsy women. “It is also so that you can see the evolution from the neighborhood,” he adds.

Ester Gómez Vidal, 16 years old, is the youngest of the template. Agile with the ball, he is also agile when responding. “It’s a change important in the neighborhood, very radical, because the culture they have here is very different -he observes-. I’m proud that, finally, doors will be opened so that the women of La Mina can play at soccer”.

Inspired by the selection

To the titles, the generation led by Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmatí adds to inspiring some of the walls of inequality to come down. To the account it is worth adding that women’s sports are beginning to take root in La Mina: it would have still been difficult if it were not for the feat of the Spanish team in Australia.

“Everything starts with the team of the world champions,” says Toni Porto, founder of Tramontana and restless ‘miner’. A member of the large Calé community of the place, he gave the girls an alternative, fond of trying out the ball and exercise, although they had never before been federated in a league.

Before recruiting them, Porto spoke in person with the parents of the young women, to undo any possible reservations. He assures that he did not find any. “They told us that they saw it well, that we should go to the stroke“, remember.

That the families had no objections reveals “a fairly significant change.” positive”, says the head of the entity. The cry of ‘it’s over’ has also made its way in La Mina. “It is a neighborhood where we gypsies see girls playing differently, but that had to end, since we are already in 2023,” Porto postulates. “We wanted to break the molds,” he adds. You have to give a chance“It’s not a bad thing for girls to play soccer and have fun.”

“It depends on which family, maybe it is a difficulty Let their girls play soccer, because they don’t like it and it’s supposedly for boys, Ester claims. He is a Advance “Let them grab their parents, tell them that they have created a girls’ team and that they can play.”

No money for the quarry

The implementation of women’s football in the neighborhood is limited, for now, to a single team senior, without lower categories. There is parents They have gone with the calves to the Tramontana so that they can train, but the lack of money is currently preventing them from setting up a quarry.

They ask for a hand so that girls can play soccer in La Mina, Barcelona. MANU MITRU

“We are fighting for it. Yes one company or someone would lend us a hand, it would be positive for the girls,” Porto prays. He comments that the club is “fully subsidizing” the women’s squad. “Most of the kids can’t pay and we take care of it. Each token costs between 120 and 130 euros, and the arbitrations They cost us 75 to 85 euros each… It requires a few bills that we cannot face,” he warns.

The straits They also force the roster of players to be short. “Many women in the neighborhood would like to sign up but the loads family, the dynamics of life as mothers, Housewivesworkers… complicates it,” Alba realizes.

In any case, Porto appreciates that the Roma community has welcomed liking Let her girls represent her by dressing in short clothes. “Every time they play, quite a few come spectators that they are not their relatives, but gypsy girls from the neighborhood. They are excited to see a women’s team for the first time here,” she highlights.

Alba corroborates that the hubby He is “full” with them. “They encourage a lot, they get excited about the goals, they cheer, they applaud… You walk down the street and children always stop you to ask: ‘Have you played?’ ‘Have you won?’” Above all, pay attention to the families who come with their daughters, teenagersto watch them play: “They are at a key age, 15 or 16 years old, when in many houses Maybe they are thinking more about what they can ask each other for (to get married) or about other family matters. I am happy to see that they come with their mothers, with their fathers and that they all encourage us. “I am proud to see how the neighborhood is evolving.”

Still young, Alba contributes experience to the group: she is a handball veteran who played a couple of seasons in the first division. He reconciles the adrenaline of competing again with motherhood, helping himself with relatives and some of her friends. “Otherwise, it would be difficult for me to go to a game,” she admits. She is from Leon, she has been adopted as one more in the neighborhood, where she stayed for her couple, woman and gypsy, with two children and also a soccer player. Both mothers are two of the pioneers who, while dismantling clichés, make La Mina proud.


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