It’s official: as of next year, women will be able to play professional soccer in Colombia. ???
The decision comes as a result of a regular meeting of División Mayor del Fútbol Colombiano (DIMAYOR) officials held last Friday. It makes Colombia only the fourth Latin American country to ever have a professional women’s soccer league, joining Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.
In an official statement regarding the structure of the league, DIMAYOR explained, “As for the management’s proposal for the inception of a Liga Femenina, it was established that clubs wishing to enter should have financial, sporting, and legal structures. And [players and coaches] should have labor contracts for the duration of the campeonato.”
This is a crucial, positive step deserving of celebration, one with plenty of potential to provide an influx of opportunities for top player development at home. It isn’t transpiring in a vacuum; Colombia’s women’s national team, Las Cafeteras, has been around for quite some time. They have qualified for two FIFA Women’s World Cups (Germany in 2011 and Canada in 2015), and even managed to stun heavyweight quarterfinalist France 2-0 in group stage play last summer. ICYMI: they’re no. 25 in FIFA world rankings, too.
Cafeteras’ cracks have often been forced to hone their craft at club level abroad: Nicole Regnier at Rayo Vallecano, Natalia Gaitán at Valencia, Melissa Ortiz at Boston Breakers, Lady Andrade at Western New York Flash, Yoreli Rincón at Avaldsnes. Now, they might finally have a solid shot at finding quality fútbol at home on a more consistent basis. Not only this – the league should do wonders for women’s soccer development across the board, starting with youth leagues. One step closer to my dream of a women’s Liga MX! Let’s go.