El Centrocampista

A WOMAN’S TOUCH – Rayo Vallecano and female footballers in Spain.


Although the general consensus in the majority of Spain is that new boys Rayo Vallecano will drop straight out of La Liga again having only just made it back up there, there is a silver lining to this perennial yo-yo club.

The men’s first XI face up to Getafe this weekend in a somewhat less-elegant edition of the Madrid Derby, though you’d be brave to tell either sets of fans that.

Rayo come off the back of two draws out of two, placing them in a mid-table position however, as Mick McCarthy keeps reminding us all, the league ends in May, not September.

Rayo’s primary problem from where I can see it is firepower – in both games so far, the lack of goal scoring opportunities has been rather apparent.

Despite the fact that Rayo are a newly promoted club, it is still a concern that the number of  chances they are creating is relatively low, especially against fellow strugglers Zaragoza.

Could Rayo's men could learn something from their female counterparts.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom in south Madrid; Rayo Vallecano, as many people don’t know, have a women’s team.

Despite the apparent finance problems and turmoil in the background in the boardrooms, the progression of the female team appears to be completely unaffected.

As it happens, the women’s team at Rayo Vallecano have had a bit of a prolific start to the season having come out all guns blazing.

Unlike their male counterparts, they have won two out of two and top the league with an impressive +13 goal difference.

This can hardly be seen as surprising  however, as they have been in the top ten of the Superliga Femenina since its ‘inception’ (name change) in 2001.

In that last decade, they have steadily progressed higher and higher, finishing second in the 2007-08 season, and winning the title for the past three seasons since then.

They are by far the most successful domestic footballing side in Madrid over the past few years as the men’s teams across the cities have fallen short, while Real Madrid don’t even have a women’s team.

However, for all of this progression within a league, the chasm in between La Liga and the Superliga Femenina is so vast that many cannot see from one side to the other.

In England, we are very aware that there is a Women’s Premier League and a Women’s FA Cup.

Chances are that if you racked your brain, you would be able to remember who won them last season – or at least have a list of possible teams; the usual suspects being Arsenal, Everton, Doncaster, Chelsea, etc.

You may have even watched the Womens World Cup in which Japan beat the USA in the final.

So why, when the Spaniards have such a huge quantity of football coaches and youth teams, are none of the female footballers are making inroads?

I didn’t hear Spain mentioned once during my time watching the World Cup, and I also went to the Women’s Champions League Final – a contest between a German team and a French outfit.

The Spanish sides all fell at the first hurdle.

So for as much as we all enjoy watching the Spanish men’s league, and watching the Spaniards in the Champion’s League, why aren’t we hearing more about the female from the Iberian Penninsula having more of an impact on the global game?

For their entire footballing prowess, are the Spaniards being narrow minded in only backing the male sport?

It is common knowledge that the women’s game is not as wide reaching or currently competitive; the gap between the best and the rest is far greater in the women’s game than the men’s, however the time has come for Spain to at least have a go at improving on an international scale.

It is clear, though the FIFA rankings say otherwise, that Spain are the best team in the world, but if they want to truly dominate, they need to be inputting more time and effort into the women’s game – then the world can truly sit back and respect what a truly dominant, but also varied, golden generation Spain have bred.

For more information, read my article on the lead up to the Women’s Champion’s League final at http://cheeseslices.co.uk/2011/05/the-beautifully-butch-game/

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