Interview to Coaches of Women National Football Teams
“Being a woman is not an impediment to be a professional footballer”
Jorge Vilda, head of the national Women’s Football Team, Pedro Lopez, U21 and U19 women’s teams coach, and Toña Is Piñeira, U17 and U16 women’s teams coach,(the first woman on the bench as national coach), is the current chart of women’s football at national team level within the RFEF.
They give us the keys and their working arrangements both in the U-teams and in the National Team to move forward and getting women’s football has a place, its place in football and in capital letters.
Starting with what has been in recent months known in the media: Toña Is was named as women U17 national team coach. She’s got 34 caps with the national team as player and on the bench as coach, she proclaimed European champion as an assistant with Pedro Lopez in the Iceland’s Euro. She began to coach the U17 women national team, and as she herself says: “with a huge enthusiasm but also with the responsibility that means to coach a European champion. Proud to be the first woman and also very grateful to the RFEF who has trusted in; for me is an important step”. “We have little ploblems with the female coach figure in football yet, and in general it’s dificult to see a woman leading a group of men” but she thinks one day the problem will be solve: “We must do it gradually. It’s important to know what is the best decision in every moment, in order to improve our level without precipitation” Spanish coach said about the role of women in the world of football coaches.
She feels a great responsibility after being named head coach. “When you get the title of football coach, although not think the possibility of coaching the national team, is a real goal. And when you reach it is a big responsibility.”
The triumphs of women’s football, as in the case of the Euro Championship in Iceland are a good example to show that women can play football professionally, how national coach says: “When an international success is obtained, the impact is so huge; especially when you return to your country. Many people recognize you on the street, they say your name and support you. It’s also important to note that society and the media must show interest in women’s football, because that increases the interest of girls and young people of our country in women football”
Physical characteristics are obviously factors that differentiate the practice of female and male football, but Toña says that “in terms of strategy there are no differences in this aspect, the girls absorbed much better the concepts. It’s clear that they do what they are told to first. Clearly, the physical strength is what separates the boys from the girls, but that is supplied with technique. We practice short ball movements because the physical strength is not the same…and for example in the case of goalkeepers this difference ,mainly in the power of the jump, is supplemented with technique because there are currently great goalkeers from an early age and this is because the clubs are doing a huge job with girls ”
This aspect is shared by Jorge Vilda and Pedro Lopez. Both coaches say they collect the work that the clubs made when players come to the concentrations of the different national teams. The way to get a compact team when you have a group that meets in a short period of time is not the same in the different national teams. This is the case of Pedro Lopez and Jorge Vilda. In the U21 and U19 categories Pedro Lopez says: “We have very little time to train with them, a week a month for three days, so the last reference we have of the players is the territorial teams which is where they play the best and another reference is the match who have played with its club last weekend.
Therefore, when they reach the national team, we work with sessions that are prepared as follows: Monday, one session, Tuesday, two sessions, and Wednesday, one session in which we continue the work they have done each of them in their clubs. Then, and this logic collaboration with clubs, when the concentration ends them a physical and tactical work report to be made to continue working with the appropriate loads are also carried his team etc … in each case and in each club” When the concentration ends they also get a physical and tactical report for thier clubs to continue working with it in each case and in each club ”
In the case of absolute national team, as indicated by Jorge Vilda: “We try to make a work schedule, without interfering in clubs, appropriate for the season depending on whether the competition is short or long as is the case of a World Cup or Euro Cup, and as it’s true there is not much time to train, the work is easier when we get in touch with territorial teams and first division coaches both nationally and internationally; becuase we have players in the Premiership, Bundesliga and the US “.
An important fact is that “we always work with a global concept for all categories from U16 to the Absolute, and we usually do logically considering the players we have, using two game systems: 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3. This is very useful, because when a player reaches the national team, she does it with the same approach and concepts that has been working from the base and is easier everything. ”
In addition to the above differences, Pedro Lopez believes another differentiator key between female and male football, is that “Women’s football is more pure. It’s less influenced by everything around the men’s game. Girls play because they like it, not because they think they are going to become professional who will earn a lot of money and that it’s very important when they play”.
Jorge Vilda notes that: “It’s the same sport, the only different is the physical stength and when the girls are changing, we are not in the changing room; otherwise I think the fundamental difference is physical and is precisely why, so in female football emphasizes other virtues like talent”
Both coaches believe that the incorporation of Toña Is in the technical staff of the national team “was a necessary figure in the changing room, as a professional player who has been, but also as a woman, because she provides much closeness in some aspects and moments”. “It’s true that women are sometimes more complicated in some ways. I as a woman, there are things I know, for example how they think or react to any situation that happens in the changing room, with a simple look I solve the situation, although I have to say that both Pedro and Jorge know very well the girls, “she says Toña Is.
And about the figure of women in football, both Jorge Vilda and Pedro Lopez believe that “today women are present in many fields and jobs, and we think women will appear very soon in all levels and in all categories of football “