Gloriana Villalobos (#10) is a member of the Costa Rica under-20 and under-17 women's national teams. (Photo: Mexsport)
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – For Gloriana Villalobos, now is the time to demonstrate the strength of Costa Rican women’s football to the world.
The midfielder, only 14-years-old, is participating in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship in the Cayman Islands, where the Ticas earned a place in the semifinals after finishing as runner-up to the United States in Group A.
She says that the most important element of her side’s success is team unity,
“We have to be united on the pitch,” Villalobos told CONCACAF.com. “A team can do more things than just one player, so we have to be a united team.”
In addition to the current CONCACAF event, Villalobos hopes to compete in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which the Central American country will host starting March 15. Its Group A opposition will be Venezuela, Italy and Zambia.
“I think that first, we want to advance from the group,” declared Villalobos, when asked about the team’s U-17 World Cup objectives. “And also we want to show that Costa Rican women can also play football well.
“In Costa Rica, much is talked about men’s football, so then it is important that we do well and show that women can also play.”
Villalobos clearly values her time with the under-17 and under-20 national teams.
“The international matches give an opportunity to earn more experience,” she explained. “Things are learned in matches and when we make errors, we learn how to correct them.”
With respect to her best characteristics on the field of play, Villalobos says that what she likes to do best is keep possession of the ball.
“I like to have the ball, distribute it to my teammates, create goal-scoring chances and, well, also score goals,” affirmed the fan of both Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazilian women’s star Marta.
Her true footballing influences over the years, though, have been family and friends.
“I started to play when I was five,” Villalobos concluded. “I have two older brothers and I always played with them. It was my family who gave me that push to reach my goals and my friends from school always supported me.”
Costa Rica will look to book a place at the 2014 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Canada, when it meets either Mexico or Trinidad & Tobago in the confederation’s semifinals on Friday.