Mexico's Andrea Rodebaugh (pictured) has enjoyed an outstanding career as a player, coach and instructor.
Club Tijuana women’s head coach Andrea Rodebaugh is witnessing the fulfillment of a dream. Earlier this month, she guided Club Tijuana to a runner-up finish in the first ever Copa Liga MX Femenil (Liga MX Women’s Cup), which served as the precursor to the inaugural national league that is set to start in September.
Rodebaugh started her career playing women’s college soccer in the United States at the University of California-Berkeley, eventually competing professionally in Japan and France.
She represented Mexico in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and is motivated to grow the women’s game at all levels in her country.
Rodebaugh, also a FIFA instructor, took some time to speak to CONCACAF.com about her career.
When you look back on your playing career, what are your fondest memories?
To play professionally was a dream come true. It was an important moment in my life because initially I did not think it was possible, but in the end I was able to go to Japan and play professionally. Another dream come true was being able to play in a Women’s World Cup before I retired.
How much did your college soccer experience impact you?
Being able to combine sport and education was very important for me. I like to tell girls that the further you want to go in football, the further you have to go in school, so I feel fortunate that I was able to combine sport and school. And, today, I see girls that have the same dreams and now I am helping them fulfill those dreams.
What did it mean to you to be captain of Mexico?
It’s funny, it’s never something that I thought about or was something that I set out to do. Women’s football in Mexico in the 1990’s had little visibility. I was playing professionally, so, in a way, I was a leader of the team. Wearing the captain’s armband was very special even though it was never an objective of mine.
How do you think the new Liga MX Femenil will help in the development of women’s football in Mexico?
It provides an environment for an elite player to train and play regularly. It will increase the level of play. The players will also receive qualified coaching and it will also provide a structure that currently does not exist. We can begin to think about having young players fill in the spaces left by the older players and have it done in an organized manner.
How will it help increase the number of women’s coaches in Mexico?
The league will be very important in that aspect. For example, I personally know about 35 women who have received the top coaching license, and now there is a league where they can use that license. Many of these licensed coaches, we do not know where they are. Some are at universities, or in local leagues, amateur leagues. Now with the league, women can aspire to coach somewhere. They can be seen and they can inspire current players to become coaches once they retire. Players can see that there are possibilities to stay in football after their playing career. It will attract colleagues and will serve as a source of motivation.