Aline Reis - Brazil
My name is Aline Reis. My story is a bit different from the majority of the players. My youth football years were in Brazil. Then I received a full scholarship at an American university, where I was able to play at a high level while pursuing my degree. After graduating I decided to get into coaching. I retired my gloves and coached the goalkeepers at UCLA for four seasons, winning a national championship. At UCLA, I had the opportunity to coach three American players who will be playing in the 2019 FIFA World Cup, as well as Teagan Micah, the Australian goalkeeper who I will play against in the group phase.
During the 2015 World Cup I had a moment of reflection and realised I had ended my playing career too early, so I decided to make a comeback. I played for Ferroviária in Brazil, competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, played in Hungary, and won the 2018 Copa América with Brazil. Now I play for UDG Tenerife in the Spanish 1st Division and I’m about to play in my first World Cup.
What has been your football journey up until now?
I’ve had to overcome many injuries during my career, the most severe ones during my college years. 2 ACL surgeries and 2 shoulder surgeries. These are tough times, but the months away from football made me appreciate the game even more. Being away from your family is a huge sacrifice I’ve had to make during most of my career in order to have better working conditions in women’s football.
What are the biggest changes happening at the moment in women's football?
Women’s football is growing at a fast pace! The role and respect of women in society is evolving worldwide, and women’s football not only benefits from this culture change, but it’s also a catalyst for this change. Women’s football is empowering and it spreads the message that girls can dream and accomplish whatever they want.
What does football mean to you? Do you have a message for the next generation of young female footballers?
Football has given me so much. Through football I’ve met my best friends, I’ve earned a college and masters degree, I’ve learned to speak other languages, experienced different cultures and seen the world in a totally new perspective. My life would have never been what it is today without football, even with every prejudice, adversity and precarious condition I’ve faced along the way. So my message to the next generation is to passionately run after their dreams, fight for their rights and continue to change the way the world views women’s football.
What are the opportunities for female footballers in Brazil?
The next few years will be promising for women’s football in Brazil. We have some policies being implemented by CONMEBOL and the Brazilian federation that will help the development of women’s football in our country. Now the media is also starting to give us some attention and investments are growing.
What is the future for Brazilian women's football?
The future is bright I hope. With a strong competitive league, decent working conditions and infrastructure for the players.
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
I know there are still many places in the world that do not know women’s football. My hope is that after this World Cup, a lot more people will know, appreciate and support the women’s game.