On Saturday, August 21, the Day of the Footballers was celebrated in Argentina. For the first time, the commemoration was held throughout the country with various tributes and activities.
Two years ago, in 2019, the law that recognized the date had been approved in the Buenos Aires Legislature. And last year, it was approved in the National Congress. In 1971, a team of 17 Argentine women played the World Cup in Mexico, without boots or coaches and with a single jersey to which each one sewed the number. Without support or financing, they traveled to Mexico City and on August 21 they beat England 4 to 1. The four goals were from Elba Selva against a full Azteca stadium: there were 110,000 people.
A few years ago, the former soccer player, Lucila -Luky- Sandoval, promoted the rescue of this soccer memory and was locating one by one, all the Pioneers. Luky’s gesture was to remove from the shadows, from oblivion, the history of all these players who paved the way for many who came later.
Recognizing and narrating the history of the Pioneers, who were honored last Saturday, August 21, in the preview of the Excursionistas and Independiente party, allows us to continue plotting feminist memory.
This feminist memory to which we refer is also epistemic justice. It allows to make visible names, routes, experiences, knowledge. For some time now, different texts, radio productions and films have collected and recorded the history of women’s football in the country.
A story that, as Ayelén Pujol points out in her book What a player it is over a hundred years old. A story where in addition to women there are lesbians, bisexuals, transvestites, trans, not binaries. A story that continues to be written to the rhythm of the Plurinational Meetings, of the mobilizations in the streets, of the tribune band in the stadiums, which is written with green handkerchiefs, with the flag of pride held high. A story that is written without national borders, that weaves networks in different parts of the world, that is mixed with other football stories, that infects other sports stories.
Recovering this history allows us to know who we are, how we got to where we are today. In order to celebrate that women’s football is currently broadcast by public media platforms, to celebrate that today more and more kids are taking over the fields across the country, to celebrate the path of semi-professionalization of women’s football, to put the body to the claims for the conditions, structure, financing and development of the discipline that is still lacking, it is necessary to be able to know who were – and how they did it – the weeding of the pastures when all this was just beginning.