Impetus welcomes new writer Jorge Ceron who will be providing us with regular news from the club and international football scene in Mexico. He begins by introducing us to the game in his country (26/4/22).
Above: Women’s Pumas salute the crowd at the University Olympic Stadium. Photo: Liga MX.
Let’s start with a brief history. The Mexican women’s soccer league is a very young league, created in December 2016, and its first season began in July 2017, although in that period a cup competition was played in May (and has subsequently not been played for again.)
The league started with a match between Pachuca and Pumas at the Hidalgo Stadium, the same venue used by the Pachuca men’s team, the first goal was by Berenice Muñoz, the result was a favorable 3-0 win for Pachuca, and that’s where it all started.
Currently, the Women’s Liga MX BBVA, as it is called due to sponsorship is made up of 18 teams, the same teams that make up the country’s men’s league. With the exception of two teams, they all play in the same stadiums as the men’s clubs, Cruz Azul continues to play in its training facilities, and Querétaro does so in its own stadium for the women’s team.
The other teams play in stadiums that have been World Cup venues, such as the famous Azteca Stadium, where Club América sometimes plays the local team, coached by the Englishman Craig Harrington. Another famous stadium is the León Stadium, which is well remembered for that vibrant game between West Germany and England in the World Cup in 1970, or the mythical University Olympic.
The league is divided into two tournaments, each tournament has its final phase, after facing each other in 17 rounds, the eight best-placed teams qualify for the final phase and there begins the so-called “liguilla” or playoffs, First vs Eighth, Second vs Seventh, Third vs Sixth, and Fourth vs Fifth. These matches are played over two legs and the winners go to the semi-finals, in that round the same thing happens and the two finalists remain who also face a game over two legs to define the champions, per year there are two champions, one in May and one in December.
We are currently at the end of day Round 16 of 17, that is to say, from next week the finals will begin. Speaking of finals and titles, we can mention that in the eight seasons that there have been, (not counting the one canceled by the pandemic) only four teams have been crowned champions, Tigres from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, Rayadas from Monterrey, Club América and the first champions in history, the Chivas Rayadas from Guadalajara.
The most successful teams in Mexican women’s soccer are: for titles and finals achieved, the Tigres de la UANL and Las Rayadas, Chivas and América base their popularity on the great support they have in the men’s branch and that has been transferred to women’s soccer, although all teams already have their loyal fans.
Finally, I can tell you that in the Mexican league since 2021, two foreigners are allowed per team, and players have arrived mainly from the United States but they have also arrived from Spain (the first two foreign players in the league in history) from Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and even from distant Iceland and Nigeria, some of them selected for their national teams.
Next Week we’ll talk about the results!