We waited all our lives for the stadium to be full, for a final match to be broadcast on TV. It’s going to be an epic game and in a big stadium. Brazil has always been the country of men’s football on the TV, on the news… but… after the World Cup, it’s also the country of women’s football. The World Cup was historical. It was a different feeling to play and to see the whole world watching. It was broadcast live for the first time. It broke audience records in Brazil. It changed Brazil and the way the whole world sees women’s football. Everything started at home. The beginning was hard because the boys wouldn’t accept a girl playing with them. They would say “no” and I would say “yes,” and slowly I started to gain my space. I was the first [female] Brazilian player to play for Barcelona and Roma. When I started, I didn’t have anyone to inspire me, to think, “Wow, I can play on a big European team.” There wasn’t anyone. Through me girls in Brazil can believe their dream can come true. Clearly the World Cup was a very transformative moment for women’s football in Brazil. Because it was on national television, women’s football became something families spoke about. If before, fathers thought that only their daughter played football, they didn’t want to admit that to anyone. Now they can say, “My daughter also plays football.” It becomes something they can be proud of. I started Pelado Real in 2011 because I had to build this space for women. After the World Cup we doubled the number of enrollments. So it’s impressive to see the increase in demand. My friends from school would never talk about football. I’m the only girl in my class that likes football. Then they watched the Women’s Cup and started to talk about it with me, saying they liked it and it was very exciting. When I tell my friends that I play in an all-girls club, they’re like, “Wow, that’s so cool.” I think I inspired them to see that women’s football is cool. It is quality football. The World Cup brought more visibility to women’s football. I used to train with no one watching me. Now I go to practice, and there’s a crowd watching me. It gives me an extra drive to see that everyone is supporting women’s football. Here in Brazil we have a visibility issue. Not everyone gives the necessary support for the players to grow. I think that’s what’s missing: a bit more support from the clubs, a bit more investment. It’s what’s going to make the game grow more each year. I called Adriana because it was a very special moment for her. Phone: What’s up, Adriana? Adriana: Hi, Andressa, how are you? Are you ready for the game on Saturday? For sure, we’re going to win it! I saw in the news that the ticket line was hitting the subway station. So cool. Yeah, it’s sold out. We arrived for practice yesterday and people were complaining in line, wanting tickets, asking, “Where are the tickets? Where are they?” It’s really cool. Especially because it will be at Arena [Corinthians]. It’s going to make history; it’s going to be great. Let’s go! Let’s go! The importance of this game is huge for us since it’s a title Corinthians doesn’t have. It’s the record attendance for women’s football in Brazil. I think the impact of this game will be huge. To be an inspiration to these girls is very important to me. It was a big step, but there’s still a lot to do. It depends on the leagues, the clubs, and the press to keep motivating, to keep showing that women’s football is worth it. And through that people will ask for more games in stadiums. Not just once a year. The same way we have the power with the ball, we also have the power with our voices. RESPECT THE WOMEN We have to fight, so when these 10-year-old girls who are starting out now get to their prime, things will be easier. Our main goal is to fight all we can now so they can have a much better women’s game in their future.