- Tania Morales, a midfielder, now aged 35, is one of the great icons of women’s football in Mexico.
- The national team midfielder, decided to commit herself to developing women’s football from grassroots level.
- She created an exclusively female football training academy and admits girls from six years of age to equip them with their first skills in this sport.
“My name is Tania Paola Morales Bazarte. I was born in Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco in Mexico. I come from a family of six: dad, mum and three brothers. I’m passionate about football; it’s in my blood, thanks to my father, who played professionally.
My experience of playing football started in the yard at home. Every afternoon when I got home from school with my brothers, we would have some great matches… spectacular two-a-side games. Once, when we had to move, we came to a house where the “most suitable” place for our contests was a passage running through the living room, the dining room and a small office.
Football has been the driving force of my life. Ever since I was a little girl, when I saw the matches on TV I always dreamed of playing in a stadium full of people. When I heard my dad walking in his football boots I dreamed of the day when I would be able to wear boots like those. I used to love going to his matches with him, waiting eagerly for half-time so as to be able to go out on the pitch and kick a ball about with him or my brothers.
After spending my childhood playing only with my brothers and cousins, the day arrived when I found a female football team. When I reached the sixth grade at primary school I was moved to a school that had a girls’ team, and that was where my football “career” began.
When I left school I was invited to join a Jalisco state indoor football team, where a friend invited me, in turn, to play in the Chivas female team. At the age of 14 I began my story with Chivas Guadalajara, the club that opened the door for me to be seen by people from the national team. I was able to attend an under-20 World Cup. From there I made the leap to the senior national team, where I took part in various championships for several years.
Finally, after many years waiting, the professional league began in Mexico. I was lucky enough to begin my professional career at the club which had moulded me since I was a child, and what a way to start playing professionally! I always describe that first championship with one word: Magic. It was simply amazing. To be able to lift that first cup was the gift of a lifetime for a whole journey in football.
After winning that first championship and with the professional league in our country now a reality, it was time to set in motion the project I had been turning over in my mind for years; opening a football academy exclusively for women.
The league in our country is opening the way for women in the football world and I think that today more than ever we need spaces where girls and women can develop in the best possible way in conditions suitable for us. That’s why I intend to contribute and do my bit to ensure that our football keeps growing and that our girls know it’s now a reality that we can too play football professionally as women and that those dreams of playing in a stadium full of people and wearing and defending your favourite team’s shirt are now within reach of anyone who fights for it.
Today, it’s a source of satisfaction for me to transmit and share the experience that my years in football have given me and that girls who are now dreaming of reaching my position can share with me. To me its a real thrill and a great responsibility to be able to inspire all these girls and to support them and guide them in their development, first as people and then as footballers. I hope and dream that the girls who belong to my training academy today will succeed in becoming professional footballers tomorrow.
My training academy currently admits girls from the age of six, with no upper age limit, and we already have 45 students. There’s also a coach and a person responsible for making sure that the students have access to everything they need.
"One of the most important factors for me at my training centre is equal opportunities. That's why, over the years, we have been able to give different scholarships to girls with fewer economic resources, so that they too can dream of becoming footballers.
I’m sure that my life will always be close to football, and as a player, a manager or a director I hope I will always be able to contribute to achieving better football in our country. Because I think that that… FOOTBALL ALWAYS MAKES FOR A BETTER WORLD."
In our series #CommunityChampion, we highlight a professional footballer’s activities to help impact the lives of other people in his or her community. Every two weeks, we put the spotlight on another player.