I just turned fourteen, and I’ve played soccer since I was six. I didn’t like it at first. I used to think it was a men’s thing and my mom didn’t like it. So I got scared and refrained until, one day, I made up my mind and my dad started training me.
My dad says I’m a “machito,” that I’m strong. My friends are all boys and I’m in the boys’ soccer team, the only girl in the Sub-14 category.
When I enter the field, I feel powerful. I get anxious too, particularly before stepping in. Teamwork is about helping each other out, though I’m a bit selfish: when I have the ball, I don’t wanna let it go. I get desperate, I want to kick it, get to the other side of the field and score. Then I remember about teamwork and pass the ball.
When I score on trainings, I shout like crazy “goaaaal!” and I ask my dad, “did you see? How about putting me as a striker?” Now I play as defense and midfielder. My dad tells me that if I want to be forward, I need to learn how to use the ball: “Gotta know how to handle it, learn to play with your partners.”
To me, the team is like the whole human being. The defenders are the legs, and the strikers are the head, because they think, they decide to pass the ball and the right time to score.
As a soccer player, I’d like to be like my dad. Not as a coach, because I’ve got no patience; I mean as a player, because that’s what I’m made for! I’d like to be as noble as him, because he puts others before himself.
My mum left for Colombia and I don’t know when I’ll see her again. My uncle was here a moment and, the next, he was shot, right there, in front of the chicken coop. Another uncle of mine is in jail. I can feel when something is going to happen, I dream of it. My dad says “Don’t tell me anything, or it’ll happen.”
My partners are my shelter and best friends, I spend more time with them than at home. Wherever I go, we’re together. Climbing mango trees, up or down the street, they’re like my family. All the broken blocks of these streets are because of us. We set a football goal here, the other one really far away over there, and we play and fight for the ball. My mum sometimes called me “street girl”, and my dad tells me off, “you’re hanging out all day, and only come inside to eat or sleep.”
When I grow up, I want to keep seeing the group, because there are players that forget their partners after growing. I want to keep seeing them and sharing. I don’t want to forget our friendship and all we’ve lived together. I wish we keep feeling as a family.