It’s easy to focus on how far women’s football needs to go rather than how far it’s come.
From the news that Sunderland Ladies have been bumped from the Academy of Light first-team facilities to the ongoing struggle between the Danish women’s team and federation, there are still new obstacles popping up every day. But while it is important to point out the negative and continually work towards progress, there is also plenty of positive to bring to light as well.
Take Liga MX Femenil, for example.
The Mexican women’s league — which was founded less than a year ago, in December 2016, and involves 16 Liga MX clubs — has already been quite impressive so far in its first Apertura season. Their first weekend of the season drew almost 14,000 combined — 13,804, to be exact — including 3,125 attending Pachuca-Nacional and 6,170 at Morelia-Veracruz.
It could’ve been even higher, too; the coach of Chivas, whose fans were crowded outside the training complex to catch a glimpse of the match, said: “If fans continue to show up like that, we’ll have no option but to play in a stadium.”
And it’s only gotten better.Club León, for example, saw their highest attendance of the season against Chivas last weekend: a whopping 25,000.
And that match helped raise the weekend’s matches to an overall record attendance of 37,387. Leon’s attendance was the biggest boost by a large margin, but that’s not to say that Pachuca-Toluca’s draw of 9,600 wasn’t also great.
Indeed, in just a few short months the new league has already proven what it could mean for the future success of the women’s game, both off and on the field.
The biggest push behind Liga MX Femenil was a desire to grow the strength of the national team; this is why each team is only allowed two players older than 23, and why non-Mexican players are not allowed. Those that have been playing, or desire to play, for the national team now have a domestic outlet to continue growing their talent year-round.
It’s quite a starting point for a country that has up until now lagged quite far behind in its support of the women’s game. It’ll be great to see how far it can go from here.