A number of years ago, Villarreal decided to back women's football strongly, creating a footballing project which has since become a model nationally. Each year more girls play football in the province of Castellón and a number of them do that with Villarreal CF: The club has a women's first team, playing in Reto Iberdola, and four other formative sides.
The U16s side, which can be made up of players from U16, U15, U14 and U13 level, is one of the youngest teams in its league, the Liga Valenta Cadete-Infantil. They only have one player in their team who is at U16 level: "We are a really young team. We only have one U16 from the 21 players that we have. This means that a lot of teams we face have a physical advantage," explains coach Marcelo Parodi.
Despite that, the results could not have been better. The Yellows side are top of the table, unbeaten and have scored 59 goals, conceding just four. These impressive figures will allow them to pass to the second stage of the championship, which will see the top six sides in the league face each other. However, this Sunday, they have a massive game against another team at the top of the table (Marítim, 12:45pm CET) ."Our aim is still being top six, but obviously if we can finish first, that's better," says Parodi.
A goalscoring side
Parodi is not the only person giving the players advice and guidance, as women's first team player Nazaret Segura is also part of the coaching staff. She is a role model for the youngsters to look up to. Without a doubt, her being there has helped striker Alba López score 12 goals so far this season, becoming the league's second top scorer, only one behind the leader. Lucía Romero is fourth in the race for the 'pichichi' with eight goals. As the statistics suggest, the Yellows are an extremely offensive side, enjoying a lot of the ball in the opposition half, as their manager says: "We're a very offensive team, we're very dangerous in front of goal, a lot of players are good one-on-one so we can do a lot of damage. Our attack is our biggest strength."
Although their offensive power is one of their biggest assets, they also have others, such as the good relationship between players. A lot of them are schoolmates or neighbours in Vila-real. This has made them tight-knit on and off the pitch: "At the end of last season you could see the improvement and progression a lot, as they are very disciplined and take on our advice."
Finally, Parodi wanted to underline his players' disposition to learn new concepts in training, which is very important in all sides that make up the academy: "They're very disciplined and do what they have to." This great attitude, combined with fantastic results, suggests a very bright future for both the young players and the coaching staff.
The side is made up of the following components:
Coaches: Marcelo Parodi, Nazaret Segura.
Players: Ainhoa Esbrí, Alba López, Andrea Marina, Carla Gallego. Carmen Monsonís, Cristina Mompó, Irene Navarro, Irene Sánchez, Irune Araque, Laura Linares, Lucía Romero, María Vidal, María Soler, Marta Ibáñez, Marta Albella, Martina Tur, Nerea Ruiz, Nuria Penalba, Paula Abengozar, Paula Bea, Rebeca Pellicer.