Football academy to boost women’s and grassroots football in Ecuador29 December 2014

Women’sfootballisabouttochangeinEcuadorasafootballacademyislookingtofurtherthepracticeofthesportamongtheyouthandincrease theinvolvementofwomenandgirlsinlocalfootball.

The AmbaSoccer newest training centre opened last week in Holviplas, Ambato, in the central Andean valley of Ecuador, and is calling on boys and girls to join the activities.

The project, which initially focused only on women’s football, is now divided in two initiatives, AmbaSoccer Children and AmbaSoccer Woman, looking to promote the integrated practice of sport between boys and girls under 14 years old and support local female talents.

“The work with young girls is our main focus because there are still social and cultural barriers linked to its practice to break. We want women’s football to be seen as any other sport, and we want girls to have the same rights to play as boys do” said the academy’s director of football Patricio Moreno.

“It is about time to change Ecuador’s mentality and let women pursue a career in football as well” he added.

The football academy was funded in March 2012, following a local discussion months earlier around the inclusion of women in football in Ambato. Its mission is to address the lack of opportunities for young girls to practice the sport, while promoting life skills among its practitioners, establish a link between sport and gender equity, highlight the potencial and skills of young players, make football a career path for women and increase the number of training facilities.

Over the last years, the popularity of women’s football in Ecuador has been increasing also thanks to the achievements of the women’s national team.

La Tricolor boosts the popularity of women’s football
Earlier this month, the national women’s football team beat Trinidad and Tobago and became the first women’s team from Ecuador to qualify for the finals of a FIFA competition.

In 2015, the Ecuadorian women’s national team, will mark its 20th anniversary and will make its first World Cup debut at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. The team’s manager Vanessa Aráuz, the first female coach in the country, will also make history by becoming the youngest coach to ever manage a national team in a FIFA tournament at the age of 26.

Following the qualification, Vanessa Aráuz said: “We need to plan wisely the World Cup so that the national can have a good future.”

I started as the manager of a team in Guayaquil and this [the World cup qualification] is a massive boost to keep up with the good work. My priority is to work in women’s football and one of my main goals is to become a FIFA instructor”.