Because this is a Women’s World Cup year, I have decided to countdown to the tournament by providing a short soccer/fitness related preview of each of the 24 participating nations. In this instalment, I will look at Spain, who are making their first ever appearance at the Women’s World Cup. Spain have been drawn in Group E, along with South Korea, Brazil, and Costa Rica. They will play their first match against Costa Rica on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015.
The women’s game in Spain has faced many challenges over the years, many of which stem from the prevailing attitude in some European countries that soccer is just not a sport for women. In the past 10 years, however, this attitude has begun to change, and as a result the Spanish National Team has enjoyed some recent success. The core group of players in the present Spain team have been together (training and even living together for much of the calendar year) for many years as part of the National Youth team. This same core group of players won the UEFA Women’s U19 European Championship way back in 2004, and now, after over 10 years together, they have finally qualified for the Women’s World Cup for the first time.
In Spain, the Women’s National Team and Youth Teams have followed the same youth development model as the highly successful Men’s National Teams. They select talented young players in their teens, and provide an ideal training environment that includes as much time together in the National Team system as possible. As young adults, talented players will divide their time between their professional Club/Academy teams, and the National Team. Of course, this developmental model has been extremely influential over the recent success of the Spanish Men’s National Team, which has included two European Championships (2008, 2012) and World Cup Championship in between in 2010. It remains to be seen whether the same system can be equally successful for the Spanish Women’s Team. We will have to wait and see what happens in 1 month’s time.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic. Drop me a line here to get the conversation started.