Women’s football in Guatemala continues to grow
Guatemala’s Ana Lucia Martinez and teammates arrive in Houston to face off against dangerous opponents in CONCACAF’s Women’s Olympic Qualifiers. (Photo: Mexsport)

”CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship is another step in the process

Thanks to CONCACAF’s sustained support and the success of its representatives in major international competitions, interest in all aspects of women’s football continues to grow amongst member associations, clubs, sponsors and broadcasters.

As a result, opportunities for women in the sport are expanding at the same impressive pace.  Players, coaches, referees and administrators all have a potential to fulfill their footballing aspirations in ways never before imagined.

An example of such progress can be found in Guatemala.  Even though the Central American nation is known for its natural beauty, ancient ruins and traditional cuisine, women’s football is making a genuine mark.

Leading much of the charge for women’s football in the country is Benjamin Monterroso, the head coach of the senior and under-17 national teams.

The former Guatemala international, his technical staff and players are unwavering in their desire to reveal the hidden potential of women’s football.  There here have been growing pains along the way, but persistence, dedication and an adherence to creating the appropriate environment are winning the day.

“It is only through the support of local organizations, in addition to the aid of the (Guatemalan Football) Federation, that local women have been able to focus on the development of their skills, as the support provided allows for the improvement of the local game,” said Monterroso.  “The evolution of the local structure, which emulates the one within US women’s football, allows women footballers to earn scholarships, as they prepare themselves to play the game at the highest level.  Such opportunities provide them with the chance to attend school, while they hone their individual skillset.”

March will be an important month for Guatemala as it competes in the CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship in Grenada, where three teams will earn tickets to the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

“We are fighting to eradicate the mindset that limits women from participating in the sport, educating the parents, while allowing girls of all ages to train,” Monterroso noted.  “It has been a long journey, yet our aim remains set on earning our passage to the Women’s World Cup.  That is our goal.  We have already achieved it at the U-17 (men’s) level, and now our eyes are set on the Women’s World Cup.”

The CONCACAF event promises to be a major hurdle.  Monterroso, however, is looking forward to the challenge.  After all, he has met and flourished in the effort to overcome them before.