Bogota, 7 July 2022 (TDI): The Women’s Copa America Soccer Tournament begins in Colombia at a time when the sport is expanding in South America, although with considerably different opportunities for participants.

Ten teams are divided into two groups, with two countries from each group proceeding to the knockout stage. The final will be held on July 30 at the Alfonso Lopez Stadium in the Colombian city of Bucaramanga.

Brazil, the defending champion, has built its own women’s soccer organization. Across the region, most players have struggled to secure professional contracts.

Soccer In South America

Four years ago, during the Women’s Copa America in Chile, experienced goalkeeper Vanina Correa led a protest with other Argentina national team players.

They made a protest position with their hands wrapped behind their right ears as they gathered for a pre-match photo, indicating that they wanted to be heard by Argentina’s Soccer Federation.

Argentina seeks to clinch one of the three direct slots available for the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia in 2023 at the tournament in Colombia.

The game has evolved significantly. Younger female footballers in Argentina have secured a minimum wage. Clubs lacked locker rooms and team uniforms. Signing a deal was only a fantasy.

“Women’s soccer had a short trajectory in South America, only 31 years, and we are aiming to speed up our processes,” said Fabimar Franchi, who runs the South American Football Confederation’s (CONMEBOL) women’s soccer development division.

CONMEBOL stated that the winner of the Women’s Copa América would receive a 1.5-million-dollar award for the first time. Furthermore, beginning with this edition, the continental tournament will be held every two years.

This year, Argentina began a licensing system for women’s soccer clubs, requiring them to have two women.

They will improve their coaching staff, pay for players’ health insurance, give training grounds and social media profiles, and develop a system for dealing with violent and discriminatory circumstances.

The Brazilian Soccer Federation compensated Corinthians Women’s Squad $54,000 for winning their third consecutive Brazilian title in 2021. That is less than 1% of what Atlético Mineiro, the men’s champion, received.

According to Brazilian media sources earlier this year, the women’s team’s monthly payment is around $73,000, while the men’s team’s compensation exceeds $2.7 million.

Moreover, the majority of the country’s professional women footballers are paid around $920 per month. However, some benefits have improved, and fan interest is growing.

All of this is still a long way from women’s soccer powerhouses like the United States and Spain, but many South American female soccer players believe growth is achievable.