Equal play

Barcelona soccer club enters girls in boys’ leagues — and the girls rule

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Barcelona soccer club entered girls’ teams in local boys’ leagues for the first time this season, and the girls dominated, The New York Times reports, with star striker Celia Segura scoring 121 goals — more than twice as many as her closest challenger.

“When these girls play in boys’ leagues, they are pushed harder in their games,” Maria Teixidor, a Barcelona board member, told the Times. “It really makes them perform better.”

Barcelona is the third Spanish team to enter girls in boys’ leagues, following in the footsteps of Atlético Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.

So do the boys resent the success of the girls? No, said Teixidor. In fact, it’s the opposite. “There has been another effect. For the boys, it helps to normalize girls playing soccer at the same level as them,” she said. She added, “For the girls, it empowers them that there is no reason that they cannot play at the same level.”

Barcelona’s young female players have not always received that same kind of support, with one girl telling the Times that she was not allowed to play with boys while at school. A teacher told her that soccer was not a suitable pastime for a girl.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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