Female floodplains have tournaments, dreams and euphoria; money, no


Remilin was euphoric and couldn’t stop being hugged by her companions.

“Did you manage to catch a penalty?”

“I caught!”

There is no prospect of prize money, medal or TV interviews. But putting your team, Loucos & Malucos Futebol e Samba, in the final of a floodplain tournament is worth much more than most can achieve.

It is so important that the defeated team, Dominio no Pé, did not accept the result in penalties after a 0-0 draw. He complained that one of the charges had been irregular. The coach promised to present “an appeal” and “riot everything”.

The championship is Copa Camisa 10, the first women’s soccer tournament in the lowlands in São Paulo. Much of the reason for the ecstasy of the winners and the revolt of the losers is to have the chance to play in the final at Corinthians headquarters, in Parque São Jorge, on June 12.

“The objective is to try to give visibility to women’s football and offer communities the chance to compete in a free championship, which everyone can play”, says Ana Rosa Enriquez, coordinator of Instituto Por Mais Algo, an NGO responsible for organizing the competition that involves 36 teams. between field football and futsal. There are about 650 players in total.

The number could be much higher. Most of the Várzea clubs have male and female squads. But these teams are unable to finance the Saturday ride to the field in Butantã, west of São Paulo, where the matches are played.

The space of a local association is provided by the city hall. Care must be taken with noise. Even the referee whistle can annoy and provoke complaints from neighbors.

There is support from the state government, but the budget is just enough to fund the organization, provide water and shirts for the athletes. The champions will receive trophies. And only. It is impossible to give any financial reward.

It is common for teams from the lowlands, despite their amateur spirit, to pay their best players and give animals for victories. In women, this does not exist.

“It’s like in main football. The male gets the incentive. Not the women”, observes Ana Rosa.

That doesn’t stop Stephany Camille from dreaming. The 19-year-old defender of Loucos & Malucos is already tired of hearing that she wouldn’t work out. She wasn’t fit to be a goalkeeper because she was too small. She should already be doing something else with her life, instead of thinking about football.

The ease of playing with her feet made her change positions because she concluded that her 1.63 m was not enough to “pick at the goal”, as she says. On defense, she found herself.

“I don’t know where I would be without football. It saved me. If it weren’t for football, I would have gotten involved with bad things, wrong friendships”, says she, who plays for the team from Morro Doce, north of the capital, near Osasco, but lives in Heliópolis, the largest favela in São Paulo, with around one million inhabitants.

The field has patches without grass. Each ball or cart dispute raises dirt. Family members and fans who went in a caravan to watch the games scream in every match. Victories trigger field invasions to celebrate. There’s no way to say it’s worthless.

Sisters Adriana and Mariana Salazar know very well. They work for Garotas do Promorar, in Jardim Elisa Maria, north of the capital. A family futsal team, which was created by their father, Raimundo, in 1985, and whose mother, Dinaura, was a player.

Adriana, the team’s regular, remembers the time when they had to fight for space with the boys on school courts. They started to arrive earlier and earlier because whoever was there before was already starting to play. Mariana is the goalkeeper.

“Until we, to be able to use the court, started to face the boys because whoever won didn’t leave. So, we had to win”, remembers Adriana. It used to happen.

The Girls of the Detail also have the participation of other members of the Salazar family. Copa 10 is a chance to further consolidate the name of the team, which usually takes advantage of election years, such as 2022, to obtain donations from politicians. Other than that, it’s all very difficult.

Not that there are no compensations. The technician is Sidnei, a furniture store delivery man during the week. He had another girl team in the past and once faced the Promoter Girls. As there was no one to whistle, he took on the role. In the middle of the friendly, he had the reckless decision to mark a foul committed by Adriana.

She thought she had suffered the infraction and began to argue with the judge. In the middle of the argument, she lost her temper and punched him in the chest.

Adriana and Sidnei are now married.

“I punched him, and he fell in love.”

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