The Mexican Women's National Team Needs to Stop Depending on U.S. Based Players
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The Mexican Women's National Team Needs to Stop Depending on U.S. Based Players

Half of Mexico's World Cup team is based in the U.S. But the Mexican Soccer Federation is working toward creating a better infrastructure to produce more homegrown players.

This story originally appeared on VICE Sports Mexico.

The Mexican Women's National Team remains a long ways from elite. Although their coach, Leonardo Cuéllar, has done vital work to strengthen the entire branch of women's national teams, there remains a great deal to be done, especially when it comes to player development.

The Mexican Soccer Federation (FMF) is one of FIFA's most profitable affiliated organizations, thanks to a spectacular business strategy based on profits generated by the men's national team, which schedules friendly match tours in the United States, and has generated so much investment that the federation can support the entire youth structure. That's how Mexico has been able to win several FIFA youth tournament championships, including earning the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.


Mexico's 2015 World Cup team. Photo courtesy of

Sadly, that hasn't been the case for the Women's National Team. There is no proper infrastructure in Mexico to professionally train any female players. In fact, several of them, dual citizens, even aspired to play alongside their American counterparts Hope Solo, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux. But their skill level has only allowed to play for the lesser regarded Mexican team, who lost 5-1 against the U.S. in a World Cup preparation game.

Hardly any of the Mexican players actually play in Mexico, mainly because of a lack of development of the sport in colleges and semi-professional leagues and the lack of coverage of women's matches on television. Cuéllar and his staff have been forced to scout in one of the territories that breeds the most quality players: the United States

Maribel Domínguez is still considered Mexico's best ever player.

It's somewhat of an accomplishment that the most distinguished female player in Mexican history is still Maribel Domínguez, originally from Chalco. And yet, due to a lack of quality training facilities in Mexico, Dominguez—who has played in two World Cups, the Olympics and the Pan American Games for Mexico—had to move to the U.S. in 2002 so she could play for the Kansas City Mystics.

So the problem is not that Mexico isn't willing to have a better women's team, it's that there is no infrastructure for real improvement. The players are there. But there's hardly any way for these players to reach their maximum potential. Only with real improvement can Mexico ever be expected to challenge the U.S.


In May, Mexico introduced the National Women's League, an unprecedented effort to help build the amateur ranks. The league will include U-13 and U-16 categories so that girls can begin playing in competitive matches as kids. The tournament will start in September and it will include 4,500 players in 10 different cities.

While introducing the league, Lucía Mijares, Mexican Amateur Sports Competitions manager, said the main objectives were to encourage participation, develop a formative structure and break any barriers between women's soccer and the FMF.

Mijares completely understands that the Women's National Team's can be strengthened with a structure that facilitates the introduction of new competitive players into the federation.

FIFA estimates that around 2 million women practice soccer in Mexico and yet only 11 thousand are affiliated with the FMF. With a long term plan now in place—one that includes a viable women's league—scouting outside of the country could be a thing of the past. Perhaps soon, Mexico will have a thriving women's soccer ecosystem.