Fighting Machismo Attitudes
Despite the immense popularity of the sport throughout Latin America, women players struggle throughout the region against a traditional mindset of appropriate activities that don’t align with playing a dynamic and physical game. Soccer has long been a man’s domain, played and followed passionately, while women’s soccer has been legislated against, ridiculed, and ignored. In Brazil, seen as the world’s leading light for creativity, brilliant individual skills, and national team success (with five Men’s World Cup wins out of nineteen tournaments from 1930 to 2010—the most of any country), the men’s game is an obsession bordering on religious fervor. Women’s soccer to this day struggles for funding, respect, and followers, despite producing wonderful teams and players. In 2006 females accounted for only 1 percent of the registered players throughout the country, with approximately 2.1 million registered male players compared with only 27,000 females. Until vast improvements to the support structure for women’s soccer are made, Brazil’s top players will continue to play abroad.
In Mexico, another fanatical soccer country whose men’s professional league teams are among the richest in the hemisphere and regularly import top talent from throughout South America, women have received indifferent support, though there are signs