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Vanessa Arauz

Vanessa Arauz
Name: Vanessa Arauz
Sport: Football / Soccer
Role: Head Coach of the Ecuador Women's Football Team
Nationality: Ecuador


In the hospital where I was born only boys had been born before. I was the first girl to be born in that hospital,” she explains.

Her story is one of overcoming, not listening to prejudices and moving forward, never looking back.

At 26 years she has already made history at the women`s World Cup in Canada by becoming the youngest ever coach in a FIFA competition.

She will be looking to break new ground again when her side line up in Vancouver`s BC Stadium on Monday night to play their first ever World Cup match against Cameroon.

It is the first time that the Ecuadorian women have made it to the final of the global tournament, and Arauz insists they are not there just to make up the numbers but with a dream of advancing past even world champions Japan.

“My mother always said, when I was inside her, kicking a lot, I must be playing 20 games of football,” she recalls.

And as if it were her fate, Arauz became obsessed with the beautiful game.

“I trained from the age of eight with boys teams because there were no girls football schools. During the games there were shouts from the stands that I should be washing dishes, that I shouldn`t be there,” she said.

“I took the ball, overtook a player and scored the goal that gave us victory.”

As she grew up she would excel in all she undertook.

She was the first woman to earn the title of coach in Ecuador and also the first to lead the national team to unparalleled success.

A passionate team with a slogan of “Nothing will stop us” in Canada, they will undoubtedly struggle against Group C rivals Japan and Switzerland, teams with far more talent, experience and depth.

It should be a more even match against Cameroon, ranked five places below the South Americans at 53.Ecuador qualified by beating Trinidad and Tobago in a playoff game after falling short in the Women`s Copa America qualifier.

“I`m only 26 years old and the coach of a national team, it`s a great privilege,” said Arauz.

“We`re trying to develop women`s soccer in Ecuador. This is a platform so other young players will be able to make it to this level.

“What we`re really waiting to hear is our national anthem. It will be our most important achievement for women`s football. It`s part of a dream.”

She is particularly looking forward to their match against Japan in Winnipeg on Tuesday, June 16.

“Above all it`s an honour to play against Japan given they were the winners in 2011 and given they have so much expertise.

“We`ll have to play very carefully against them. One of the important challenges is not only to play Japan but also to win and be able to go to the next stage.”

Cameroon coach Enow Ngachu is also looking to makehistory by becoming the first African team to win their World Cup opener.

“Ecuador are novices like us, it`s going to be 50-50,” he said.

“True they have some young players but nobody expected Japan to win the World Cup in 2011 but they did.”