Marisa Gonzalez - Mexico
I am Marisa Gonzalez. I started being around football from a young age. My father was an amateur player, which meant every Sunday we were at the soccer fields. Later on he opened an academy and started coaching kids; that’s when I started playing in a more serious way. After playing club and then college in the USA, I started coaching girls, which is what I do now. I coach a competitive U18 and U15 women’s team.
Who is in the photos? Where were the photos taken?
The photo has girls from the club I coach Noria F.C. Other photos are football fans at different soccer events. My idea was to show the reality of an amateur women’s team and the situations that we live with every day.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
I showed the Women’s Football State Final (the tournament is called Champions Puebla). Noria F.C. girls were playing versus Granaditas Tehuacan in the Football Stadium “Cuahutemoc”. During that final I attempted to show what happens on the bench with some of the players. We were losing 2-0 that game and ended up winning 6-2.
There was also a game at Cholula. The team is warming up under the famous Cholula Pyramid (the church), which is one of the largest in the world. On a hot day at a game, some of the girls attempted to place an umbrella that one of the parents brought for them.
Lastly I showed a professional women’s game. I went to the Lobas vs Xolas game from the Mexican Professional league. I showed the fans at the game at a semi empty stadium and a perspective of the same game with rain. I love the light and the geometry of the picture. I believe it accentuates the importance of football and the beauty of a game at night. Very romantic, the rain, dark and football…
What was special about the State Final?
The Puebla Champions League is a state tournament organized by the Government. The state is divided into 8 regions, which have champions, and at the end the best 8 teams play until two get to the State Final. The stadium is the Cuauhtemoc Stadium and Puebla FC play there - it has seating for 51,000 people.
Playing at the stadium for the girls is a dream come true - an opportunity to feel like professional soccer players and play at an amazing field. The girls are allowed to use the same locker rooms and walk the same tunnel that professional players walk. The experience and feelings they have prior to the game are one of a kind.
This was the third time we played the state final; however the experience and excitement is always the same. From the girl who has played two finals already to the girl who is playing her first, they are all excited and the feelings before, during and after the game are different than any other final.
What are the opportunities for female footballers in Mexico?
There are opportunities in college for scholarships and now in the professional league. A player now has the chance to choose between the two of them. Also, a scholarship in the US is always a possibility.
Why is football so important for Mexico and Mexican people?
Football is part of the Mexican culture; there is no other sport that comes close to the passion that football creates in society. I believe football creates an identity and sense of pride with the national team or each team individually. Even before Europeans introduced football in Mexico, the indigenous people (Aztecs or Mayans) played a very similar ball game. Football is part of our identity.
What role does football play in Mexico and Mexican society?
Football has an important place in Mexican society; from a political and economical to a sociological point of view. Also, It creates a distraction from the everyday situation of the country and the problems a society carries with it.
What does football mean to you?
Football to me is everything; it is my family, my friends but also the way I can create an impact on people’s lives.
What is the future for Mexican women's football?
I believe the professional league will grow; hopefully not only in fans but also in salaries and economic power. I hope we can have more girls playing football at a younger age.