The ponytailed forward cut through the rain and the defense and drove a low shot past the outstretched arm of the goalkeeper. The pinpoint strike — her 38th of the season — confirmed Andrea Gómez as the top scorer for her championship team.
The boys Gómez left in her wake, though, were not the first ones forced to retrieve one of her shots from their net. Gómez, 13, and her teammates had been confounding boys all season, playing so well that their girls’ team recently won a junior regional league in Spain over 13 boys’ teams.
“I always try to show that soccer isn’t just for boys,” Gómez said. “If you’re technically better, you can compensate for being perhaps physically weaker.”
Quite telling who gave them the most heckling trouble:
The transition was not easy. The girls finished 12th in an 18-team league in their debut season. But as the team improved, and began to beat boys’ teams with more regularity, its progress generated unpleasant reactions.
“It’s really been more a problem for parents rather than their boys,” Salmerón said of comments directed at the team during matches. “It’s strange, but most of the macho comments and insults have come from the mothers of some of the boys we play.”