Girls United creates pathways from London to Mexico

Photo of author

By Creative Media News

The emergence of women’s football is well-documented. At the elite level, the sport continues to become more professionalized, while its visibility has never been greater. Its sustainability, however, depends on the creation of a robust grassroots network in which girls continue to gain access to and be empowered by a sport from which women have been historically excluded globally.

Girls United, formed in 2017 by Romina Calatayud, exists in this space. Romina’s interest in football stems from her early participation in the sport. She states, “It was an integral element of my upbringing and a particular pleasure.” As did many girls and women of my time, I grew up playing on fields where I was frequently the only female.

Girls united creates pathways from london to mexico
Girls united creates pathways from london to mexico

I began to consider the similarities between inequality in sports and inequality in other fields. This is where the concept of Girls United was conceived. It is the purpose of this organization to harness the power of sport to combat gender injustice more broadly.

Beginning in Mexico, where Romina was born, the organization has extended to London. With almost 4,500 athletes and 135 coaches involved, the focus is on creating locally-led development routes for females. The context in each location is unique, but the objective remains the same.

London to mexico
Girls united creates pathways from london to mexico

“There are several parallels,” she explains. “We have girls of a similar age range [5-18 years] in both locations, and they are all trying to find their voice and identity; trying to build a community where they feel a sense of belonging, where they can truly express themselves, and where they can play the sport that they love, which is football.”

For Romina, a close connection between the grassroots and the elite level is crucial. “We can create additional locations where girls are activated and have possibilities to play,” she says. “However, if they do not find opportunities to continue their path as footballers, sportsmen, or sports participants, then we will have an unsustainable system.”

Girls united creates pathways from london to mexico
Girls united creates pathways from london to mexico

Girls United has developed a player progression that affords these chances. Working in schools, they begin with “Love the Game,” which gives females the opportunity to develop a passion for football.

From there, players can advance to local satellite sessions before potentially joining Girls United’s club teams: “It’s about facilitating and building a network that allows them to feel confident throughout their journey and transition so that when they change schools or whatever, it’s not the end of their time in football.”

The development of coaches and program leaders is another organizational priority. Romina is devoted to promoting educational results and professional growth. Their curriculum incorporates life skills, using football to engage their players in dialogue.

“The learning is profound and pretty potent,” she explains. “We strive to ensure that all of our programs assist individuals to develop the life skills necessary for success in school, the workplace, and anything else they hope to accomplish in life.”

Girls United has achieved considerable success. Nonetheless, their school’s program is a source of great pride as they observe a “community that emerges around the school and the girls, which then ripples and spreads.” Working in Lambeth and Southwark, they have witnessed players develop and gain self-assurance.

Grace, who began the sport at age nine with little confidence or enthusiasm, is one example. Now 11 years old, she is captain of her school’s mixed team and served as a mascot for England’s Euro 2022 opener, furthering her ambitions to become a Lioness.

Stories such as Grace’s motivate Girls United to continue its mission. In January, they will extend into Mexico City, and their goals are to expand geographically and increase the impact of their pathways. “We want to leverage the momentum of women’s basketball to provide more girls with this opportunity,” says Romina.

I believe the World Cup will be another great opportunity for us to demonstrate how vital this is at the grassroots level and how football can transform society and individual lives if we choose to create positive places with it.

Talking points

Miedema is the most recent victim of the ‘ACL curse’ When Vivianne Miedema collapsed to the ground at the end of the first half of Thursday’s Champions League match involving Arsenal, viewers feared the worst.

Tuesday’s diagnosis of an ACL tear means that yet another of the world’s finest players will miss a big tournament. Twenty-five percent of the 2022 Ballon d’Or nominees are sidelined with an injury that has become pervasive in the sport, prompting calls for more to be done to combat the issue.

Lyon is in jeopardy as the WCL group stage closes As the final matchday of this year’s Champions League approaches, seven teams have qualified for the quarterfinals. Roma qualified for the round of 16 on their first attempt, joining Arsenal, Chelsea, Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and PSG.

Lyon and Juventus will duel for the final spot on Wednesday in what promises to be a thrilling matchup. The defending champions must defeat the Italian national champions to advance.

Club World Cup raises questions about workload Gianni Infantino announced the introduction of a Women’s Club World Cup and Women’s Futsal World Cup last week. In 2025, the Club World Cup would begin.

Additionally, he declared that Fifa believes the women’s Olympic football event should increase from 12 to 16 teams. As extra fixtures are added for the world’s finest players, the announcement was welcomed with a great deal of debate regarding workload and player welfare.

“What I tell the players is that if they perform at their maximum level, they can be proud of themselves. You’ll be devastated if you don’t win, but in the end, you can be proud because you did everything in your power, and that’s the level you’ve reached.

Because the other teams, the finest teams in the world, are so good, I usually approach situations in this manner. — Sarina Wiegman, the head coach of England.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content