Liliana Payes (pictured) scored Legends' only goal in the 2017 Central American Women’s Inter-Club Championship.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Although her team did not make it beyond the first round, Liliana Payes preferred to take a “big picture” view of Legends’ participation in the 2017 Central American Women’s Inter-Club Championship earlier this month in Nicaragua.
“It was very important for us,” the 22-year-old forward told CONCACAF.com. “It helped us feel like real professional footballers. We were the first (team from El Salvador) to compete internationally as a club and that makes us want to grow much more.”
The two-time defending Salvadoran champion played Group B games on consecutive days, falling in both to a pair of sides that eventually met in the final – champion Moravia (Costa Rica) and runner-up UNAN Managua (Nicaragua).
When asked about the tournament’s most challenging aspect, Payes did not hesitate with her response: “The great physical wear we had since we had to perform our two games in less than 24 hours.”
The former Santa Tecla standout had the distinction being the first player from El Salvador to score in the competition’s history, netting in the 56th minute of a 2-1 loss to UNAN on the opening day of play.
“It was a goal and a moment that I will never forget,” said Payes.
Regardless of wins and losses, the fact that Salvadoran clubs now compete internationally stands as its own reward to Payes.
“For me, it is a plus, since international competitions are showcases for us football players,” she expressed. “Besides, it is an honor to represent my country El Salvador in something as beautiful as football.”
Overall, the Central American Women’s Inter-Club Championship is about giving women an opportunity to take part in football at an international level and providing avenues for growth in the sport.
Payes hopes that Legends qualifies for next year’s edition.
“We are very eager to be able to return to the competition and we are motivated that we can do it,” finished the El Salvador international. “We want to return to play a better role and to make it known that the women's football in El Salvador is also very competitive.”