#234 Stefanny Rivera2018-10-03T15:48:58-04:00

Project Description


#234 Stefanny Rivera

“We girls feel free playing”

Chepina Hernandez / Beatriz F González

Saymary Silva

Petare, Caracas

Being the only woman on the soccer field made me feel good. Every day I would leave my dolls to play soccer. My mum used to be a striker, my aunt a defender, and my grandma a goalkeeper and coach before I was born. When there were championships here, in San Isidro, Petare, they would be the first to be on the field.

When I was eight years old, my mum saw I liked kicking the ball, she brought me with my brother to play on the field and I started playing with the boys. When I was ten my brother died, and I quitted playing, I felt too bad. One day the trainer asked me if I wanted to keep playing and I started with the girls team. There I’m a striker.

My parents separated when I was six years old. I kept in touch with my dad and even went traveling with him sometimes, he’s from the East and lives in Margarita. We’re four siblings plus two older children of my mum’s, but that he raised up and they love him as a father.

Dad doesn’t like that I play soccer, he says that’s for men. I tell him that we girls feel free playing, that we like it and we’re a family. I have girl friends that want to play but their parents won’t allow them. One of them was completely forbidden to play by her father. I talked to the father of another of my friends and he let her play with us. Now she comes to pick me up every day: ‘Let’s go practice, let’s go practice!’

My brother was 17 years old when he died, he was the oldest. I was very fond of him. One day he received a call and was told to come out, and when he did he was shot. We were told he was lying on the floor, my mum was working, and it was an hour later that we could tell her because we had no way to find her. She rushed, we took him to the hospital, but they didn’t operate on him on time. I’d like to do what he couldn’t, go far and finish my studies.

Now I take care of my siblings, I don’t feel like a mother but like an older sister. They’re terrible. I was too, I’d escape home and then I was grounded, I’d go playing to the soccer field or go to my aunt’s house, I used to make my mum run after me every day.

My mum is a role model, she managed to pull through with us after dad left. When we feel bad, she talks to us, gives us advice. Sometimes, even if she doesn’t have any money, she works and finds the way to get us our school tools. I help her at home, study and get the meals ready before I leave, so that she eats when she gets home, because she gets home very tired. Helping her, I help myself.

Before they raised the bus fare, I was practicing in the Metropolitan University team, they still got me on sight, and call me to ask if I’ll keep going but I don’t know. I was also chosen by the Petare and the Mesuca teams, but they have no transportation to pick me up and I don’t have the means to go. It’s 30 thousand Bolivars in cash that I prefer saving in case any of my brothers need it to go to school.

I’d like to major in Fashion Design. I’ve always liked soccer, when I was younger I used to make soccer uniforms for my dolls, I’d grab some of my clothes and destroy them to make the dolls outfits and painted the ping pong balls like soccer balls. I have a notebook full of drawings of soccer t-shirts, swimsuits, dresses, my mum showed it to everybody!

I admire my trainer, he plays too well! I want to play like he does. He’s warm, and gives us a lot of support, he has no preference for any of us, he helps us all the same.

The freedom I feel on the soccer field I also feel when I dance. My brother danced electro house, I learned by watching him and now I do things he didn’t even know. My little sister is always with me. If I had to advise her I’d tell her to follow her dreams, not to let them go, to study, even though she likes studying more than I do.

I feel happiness when I touch the ball and play with the girls, also when I see the Barcelona Football Club play. We have to enjoy life because we don’t know when we’re going to leave this world, or what will happen next. Enjoy the moment, that’s the most important thing.