Women and dissidents in football can build “a safe and inclusive space free of violence,” said Emma Kiernansoccer team coach The Seedbedand stressed that the inequality present in this sport “must be faced from all fronts, professionally or recreationally.”
Kiernan (22) is the coach of the Capital Federal recreational soccer team “The Seedbed”, and since she was five years old she has been linked to sports. In addition to playing soccer, she was a high-performance tennis player until she was 20 – she was ranked number two in Argentina – when she decided to dedicate herself to her academic training.
“I have always been very linked to sports., but during my childhood the scenario surrounding women’s soccer was different, since there was no possibility, at least in my environment, of being a soccer player. Then the path to tennis opened for me, which I liked equally and with the same passion,” said the young woman during a visit from Télam to the club where she teaches soccer classes in the Núñez neighborhood.
In this space, around 15 young people put on their boots weekly to share a training session that they described as “affectionate and supportive”, but which also seeks to develop the sporting aspect by promoting “healthy competition”.
“The main objective of the project is to create a safe, inclusive space free of violence so that young women and dissidents know football and can practice it recreationally,” Kiernan said about her project that began in 2021.
At the same time, he highlighted the “sense of collective and team” that is built among the players, which makes El Semillero “a daily refuge” through aspects such as listening.
“For me it was always very clear that sport is a tool for social transformation and the challenge for me was to really learn how to create projects with sustainable structures and have a large-scale impact through sport,” highlighted the young woman, who is also studying a degree in Social Sciences.
During the class that Télam attended, a central part of the training consisted of passing the ball and shooting at the goal with the left foot, something that although some of the players found it difficult at first, they perfected it based on Kiernan’s instructions. and harangues from her companions.
In this sense, Lena (28) and Delfina (22) They talked about the folklore of soccer and the pedagogical differences why they decided to play in El Semillero.
“Training changed my life, I learned to connect with my body”said Lena, who pointed out that she had never done sports activities, but discovered that on this team “we can be competitive and play hard, but from another place.”
“This forms an incredible group and community,” he said and compared the situation to “traditional football, where it is not so accepted to recognize something positive in others and be patient with mistakes.”
Meanwhile, for Delfina, Since there is a difference in “the 100-year history of men’s and women’s football, it is obvious that the level is going to be different.”
For this reason, he maintained that “it is key to start in a space where the person who teaches you understands you. I feel that with women you learn in a different way and much more beautiful spaces are created to later grow and continue learning.”
El Semillero also participates in tournaments and sports and cultural activities without neglecting the way of connecting with sports and with the intention of “getting away from sports stereotypes,” remarked its coach.
Kiernan also noted that The great challenge for women’s football “is to include everyone in that folklore”which in Argentina described as “mystical, brilliant and sporty”, and which for this reason should not “include more machismo, homophobia, racism, or any type of violence.”
“I notice, more than anything among men, a lot of fear of making mistakes, of being considered bad players. We must propose a healthy competition, where error is part of the game,” he noted.
At the same time, The young woman was also part of the Gender Commission of the Argentine Tennis Associationwhich allowed him to experience situations of inequality that functioned, in part, as an impetus for the creation of his football school.
“It was very clear to me that there was a lot of inequality and I believe that once one is aware of inequality, it is very difficult not to get involved,” he said.
In this sense, he maintained that inequality in sports “must be faced from all fronts”, which includes “professional sports, that there are women in leadership positions and that it really is a job opportunity for women to be athletes.” .
“Even in children’s sports and recreational sports, as we do here in El Semillero and even the media coverage of sports events,” he continued.
Finally, for Kiernan currently “There is a lot of talent to promote, many female athletes who can shine internationally and also many women who want to experience sport recreationally.
“What is missing are opportunities and safe spaces led by women,” she concluded.
The post first appeared on www.telam.com.ar