The young warriors breaking stereotypes
The young warriors breaking stereotypes

Villarreal girls’ U12 side are going head-to-head with teams in the boys’ league

Villarreal’s girl’s U12 side (Alevín Femenino) have destroyed all football stereotypes. The side led by Vicente Segarra and Sara Bermell, who is also a player for the Villarreal Women first team, compete in a side made up of male teams bar them, and are going head-to-head with their opponents, getting various victories so far at the start of this season.

The rhythm of the matches doesn’t worry this group who are committed to growing as footballers: “We have seen that competing in a boys’ league is an opportunity to grow. Each game demands a lot of each one of the players and they understand this and are implementing ideas from training. We’re able to compete in each game by adapting ourselves to the demands of boys’ football, in terms of tempo and intensity,” says Segarra.

The Alevín G, the official name under which the girls’ team competes, has three wins, two draws and two defeats so far this season. However, as with any formative stage, the sporting objectives are not based on good results, but the results are a consequence of the hard work. “The main aim for this season is for the players to improve, both technically and in how they understand the game. From the start of the season, the coaching staff has been focused on this objective, we’re in a formative stage of their football lives and we are looking for there to have been positive evolution for each of them at the end of the season,” adds the Yellows’ coach.

Having Bermell as their coach serves as more motivation: “It would be an honour to be one of their role models. It’s a really great opportunity to be able to help them form as players, and it’s something I’m very proud of. What’s more, thanks to the massive growth of women’s football in recent years, the young players can look up to great footballers easily. At their age, the most important thing is for them to have fun, and as a coach, I want to help them in their footballing development and to help them understand the philosophy here, and what it means to wear the Villarreal shirt,” explains the forward.

Bemell combines the first-team raining sessions and matches with her role in the Yellows Academy, as well as her studies, and underlines that the key to being able to do everything is organization: “The most important thing with situations like this is to be able to adapt to different schedules. For example, my training sessions are in the morning, and in the afternoon I coach the girls .Apart from that, I’m trying to also do combine that with, as best as I possible can, my studies for my Professional Training Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity. Villarreal are a club, however, that make things easy for me. They’re always trying to make sure that the times of my games don’t coincide with that of the girls when we’re at home.”

She also emphasised that competing in a boys’ league would be much more complicated at an older age: “The problematic situation is when there is a physical change at a certain age, in puberty. As younger players, they’re more or less the same physically. However, with puberty, there is a point where the physical difference between both sexes is notable. I think that then, the difference is too much.” However, at the moment, the Villarreal girls are performing well in the boys’ league.

Speaking about the future of women’s football, Bermell has highlighted the exponential growth that it has experienced in recent years. “The progression of our sport since the 2015 World Cup in Canada is more than evident, but there’s still a lot of work to do. The federations have also really helped, such as the Vlaencian Football Federation with their ‘Valenta’ project, and their numerous clinics.”

However, she is realistic in terms of the numerous hurdles to overcome: “We still have a number of issues which stop this growth, but we are competing today for future generations. One issue is the professionalisation of our sport. It requires an effort from all institutions, and for the time being, some seem unwilling to do so. But we hope that it will be resolved as soon as possible.”