Vero Boquete is on the verge of tears. Her uncensored emotions seep through your entranced eyes. You hear the tremble in her voice. You’re hooked on her every word as she recounts the biggest moment of her career: scoring the game-winning goal in extra time during Spain’s final Euro qualifying match against Scotland in October 2014, after missing a crucial penalty kick.
“She had us totally in tears…It was so emotional,” said Rena Mundo Croshere, who, along with her sister Nadine Mundo, created and directed What Makes Us: Vero. “That was what was so amazing about her; she takes her role in this so seriously and she’s tough on herself.”
“Our thing, unintentionally or not, is to tell these really emotional stories.”
“Just to see that it was still so raw for her was amazing,” Rena added in an interview earlier this week. “I think that’s part of Nadine’s and my approach as filmmakers. Our thing, unintentionally or not, is to tell these really emotional stories. We feel like that’s how you get people excited about a story, a person, a character – you tell them an emotional story. There’s this misconception that people just don’t watch women’s sports. But if you tell these kinds of stories, you get attached to the character. That’s what happens. And you follow them along.”
What Makes Us is a series of short documentary films featuring some of the world’s greatest female athletes and their rise to fame. The Mundo sisters, an L.A.-based half-Puerto Rican sister team, pitched the idea to ESPN and ESPNW after the unparalleled success of their Nine for IX short Rowdy Ronda Rousey.
When asked why these stories were the ones they felt that people needed to hear, Rena replied, “I think that as storytellers we really gravitated towards these stories because they were so much about the underdog, and there’s so much conflict with that…Here are these women, all they want to do is just play the sport. And at some point in their careers, in their lives, they were told, ‘Just go home. You can’t do this.’ For whatever reason.”
Vero’s story was “even more extreme,” she said, “because here in the U.S. there’s millions of little girls who play soccer. And Vero, who’s not that old (28), she grew up in a town where girls weren’t allowed – there was literally a rule where she was not allowed to play soccer.”
“Vero grew up in a town where girls weren’t allowed – there was literally a rule where she was not allowed to play soccer.”
Born in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Vero’s path to stardom has seen her hop from country to country in search of playing opportunities. From her homeland, to Russia, to Sweden (where she joined Marta and Tyresö FF in winning the Damallsvenskan title for the first time in 2012), to the U.S. (where she garnered all-league honors and finished second in MVP voting in 2014), and most recently to Germany (where she won the UEFA Champions League with FFC Frankfurt before signing a two-year deal with Bayern Munich after the 2015 World Cup), she truly has seen it all.
Above and beyond her incredible club success, Vero captained the Spanish women’s national team to its historic first-ever World Cup qualification. Despite a disappointing debut on the world’s biggest stage this summer (a tie vs. Costa Rica and losses vs. Brazil and South Korea), after soñando en grande in the months prior, La Roja’s efforts did result in the end of the Ignacio Quereda era.
“Vero really is credited with changing the perception of Spanish women in soccer.”
Quereda, who recently stepped down after 27 years at the helm of the national team, is featured prominently in the Mundo sisters’ film. But when asked about their interviews with the long-time coach, Rena explained that their film was about Vero, the “heroine, and how she’s changed the game.” She went on to say that when they filmed Quereda “it was in January, before everything happened,” and it just wasn’t their focus. To them, “it’s not as powerful as really delving into the character.”
Even if this political and cultural element wasn’t a focal point in the film, it does play a huge role in Vero’s story. The star seems hopeful that the arrival of Jorge Vilda from the U-19 national team will guide the women’s game in Spain in the right direction: “El fútbol femenino tiene mucho talento y ahora esperamos tener las condiciones para explotarlo.”
When asked about what they hope viewers will take away from their narration of Vero’s story, Nadine highlighted the idea that “this woman, and these women, are so talented and so powerful, and that despite the odds they face in just doing the sports that they love – by being girls on all boys teams, or for Vero the only girl in her entire region – despite those challenges, their passion and dedication and character as human beings allowed them to triumph and be able to really be champions and heroes.”
“Vero really is credited with changing the perception of Spanish women in soccer. And she has been one of the main players on that frontier. So people recognize her for that. Within her short career, she has changed the game,” added Rena.
Watch the Mundo Sisters short What Makes Us: Vero Boquete here.