After lifting the Copa Libertadores de América, the Ferroviária coach spoke about women’s football in Colombia, her career as an athlete and what awaits her in the future.
Being immersed in the world of soccer was Lindsay Camila’s dream, an illusion that she pursued since she was little with the support of her mother, who gave her the greatest gift: “She let her be herself”. From the age of 13, he began his path as a footballer on the streets of Campinas, near São Paulo. His cousins and neighbors were the accomplices to achieve his goal.
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Camila knew that if she wanted to be a professional footballer she had to go to Europe. In 2003 he arrived in Portugal. After passing through Spain and wearing the Olympique de Lyon colors, a broken ankle took her away from her career as a winger and center-back. Today she is the first champion coach of the Copa Libertadores Femenina, with a short and surprising process. Three months were enough for him to guide his team, Ferroviária, to glory.
After the injury, what happened in your life …
In Lyon, when I had to stop playing, the coach suggested that I start as a coach of the female under 13 squad, then under 14. So I was looking for another path other than as a player. I was able to train under 15 men and then I went to the national under 17 team. It all went a bit fast. I ‘ve been very lucky.
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Was it difficult to get to where you are?
Definitely the journey has not been easy at all, although I always wake up thinking that what I am doing I do it because I love him and that gives me strength. When I arrived at Ferroviária, people did not know about my history, they did not know that I had worked in Europe, they did not know the teams that I had trained. Nobody believed in me.
Why do you say they didn’t believe?
When I arrived, in the first game in the Libertadores it was not easy at all, we lost 4-0. The journalists here in the city where I am, Araraquara, from the Ferroviária team, began to write many bad things, such as that they did not know football, that it was very bad, that the previous coach had to return. Today I am not the best technical director in South America and I was not the worst in the first games either.
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What was your impression of América de Cali, whom you faced in the final?
In the Libertadores we did not excel in speed, because we had not been training for long. But I can say that in the tactical part we handled ourselves well. America had played a good game against Corinthians in the semifinal and then changed the scheme against us. Shortly after the end he said: “Let’s go ahead against a great team.” And we beat him. Wow! It is a movie, it is a fairy tale. Days after the final I tried to hire Gisela Robledo and Catalina Usme, because they are very good, but they did not want to come.
The Brazilian hegemony is evident in women’s football, nine Libertadores out of 12, what can Colombia learn?
I think the soccer culture in Brazil is very big and strong. A culture that is replicated in most countries of the continent, but the difference is that we have a longer tournament, with several participants and we have quarries (U14, U16, U17 and U18 teams). We also have resources. All countries have FIFA money for women’s football, but you have to know what they do with that money. You have to choose. Half for the national team, which is very important, and the other half for local tournaments. We need good tournaments to have better players.
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Today soccer players have a greater number of female references thanks to the visibility that the sport has acquired. How to make women’s football stop comparing itself to men’s?
I don’t know all the Colombian players, but now the youngest ones can think of Yoreli Rincón, who has played here and is a benchmark. Also those who have seen Catalina Usme play in the final of the Libertadores will say “I want to be like her.” Now we have examples. Before, there were not many games on television, but now we have more visibility, the tournaments can be seen, the stories of the players can be known. However, we still need much more support from women’s clubs, we need to have female coaches. I am very lucky because in my club most of us are women.
Who did you dedicate the triumph to?
To my mother, for everything she has done, because when I wanted to play soccer, she would tell me: “go, go play.” There was never a no from her. When I won the Libertadores, I told her: ‘Mom is for you, thank you very much for everything.’ And she replied: “Look, I haven’t done anything, you’ve always done it alone.”
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Since you started your career as a manager in 2016, what advances would you highlight in women’s football?
The outlook is promising. I feel that it has been improving, but it needs to spread more and continue to empower it. This year in Brazil we are going to have three coaches, it will no longer be just me. I will be with the Santos coach and the coach of a team that has risen in category. We have to keep changing, because we are talking about women’s football and we find ourselves with a coaching staff of men. And when we think of men’s football we don’t have women. It’s something I don’t understand. In Brazil we spent 40 years without being able to play soccer. We were forbidden to play soccer. It is true that we are a little behind the men, but now ex-players are being given the opportunity to take classes or courses to be coaches.
What message do you send to women in soccer?
No matter what they say, if you want to do something, do it. And if there are bad looks, if there are uncomfortable words or attitudes, sorry for what I’m going to say, but screw them. No matter what we want to do, we can do everything, because we are very determined, so you have to go and try. Only we can stop ourselves.