Photo: Thais Magalhães/CBF
The coach of the Brazilian Women's National Team, the Swedish Pia Sundhage, highlights that competitiveness is the main characteristic of the Brazilian Women's National Team, which explains the large number of active players in Brazilian teams selected for the National Team in the last call.
“The competitiveness (I was very pleased with that). It was very nice to be in the stands and see this, to see such competitiveness, which is very important. We have four very different teams involved. Mentioning two players from Avaí Kindermann, who did very well: Julia Bianchi and Duda. We have good players out there and if the atmosphere is competitive, they will have a chance to shine. I also liked Corinthians, who played against Palmeiras. It was a great match. I'm really looking forward to the return matches."
From 2013 to 2016, the Brazilian Women's Soccer Championship had only one division and 20 teams. In parallel to that, there was also the Brazil Women's Soccer Cup, which had its last edition in 2017. By failing to organize the competition, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) reduced the number of Brazilian teams to 16 and created a Second National Division, the A2 series. With that, there appeared the promotions and relegations, with four teams being relegated and four teams being promoted.
With 16 teams, the A1 Series of the Brazilian Soccer Championship is first played in a single round, in which every team faces each other only once. After 15 rounds, the top eight qualify for the quarterfinals, followed by semifinals and final played in two games. Altogether, there are 134 games played. CBF pays for air tickets, lodging, meals, road transportation and financial support for away games.
Currently, women's soccer in Brazil has five competitions. The main ones are the Brazilian Soccer Championship A1 and A2 Series, professional categories. In junior leagues, Under-18 and Under-16 Brazilian Soccer Championships. The fifth competition is the Under-14 Football Development Tournament, for girls up to 14 years old.
In 2022, CBF will create a new division for Brazilian women's soccer. 32 clubs will be involved in the competition. With three divisions, women's soccer will have 64 clubs in Brazilian Women's Soccer Championship as of next season. Currently, the Brazilian Women's Soccer Championship has 52 clubs distributed into two divisions: 16 in A-1 Series and 36 in A-2 Series. As of next year, there will be 16 in the elite division, 16 in the second division and 32 in the unprecedented A-3 Series.
With the creation of the A-3 Series, Brazilian women's soccer will have four competitions in the adult category-A-1, A-2 and A-3 series in the Brazilian Women's Soccer Championship. In addition to the Brazil Women's Super Soccer Cup and four in the junior categories: U-18 Brazilian Women's Soccer Championship, U-16 Brazilian Women's Soccer Championship and Conmebol's Development League in U-16 and U-14 categories.
We separated some factors to analyze the championship's competitiveness. Then, we can get to know the Neoenergia Brazilian Woman's Soccer Championship a little better and give our opinion on its competitiveness. It is as follows:
In order to give a democratic and representative format to the championship, the A-3 series will be formed by state champions from 27 states and the Federal District. If the state champion is already in A1 or A2 Series, it will be substituted by the runner-up, the third place, or by the fourth place, and so on, but always obeying the classification order of the state competition.
Therefore, the championship is formed by the strongest teams in their states, that is, teams that have recently proven their quality.
Between 2013 and 2018, the A-1 Series of Brazilian Women's Soccer Championship had five different champions: Centro Olímpico, Ferroviária, Rio Preto, Flamengo, Santos and Corinthians. This is an important competitiveness factor, as it demonstrates that favoritism is not concentrated in a few clubs. In the same period, the Spanish championship was only won by Barcelona, Atlethic and Atlético de Madrid. In German championship, only Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich guaranteed the cup.
"We live in a time of great maturity in adult women's competitions, with increased competitiveness among clubs and an ever-increasing visibility, allowing new teams to join the national competition circuit. The A-3 Division will help a lot in increasing the job market for the athletes, in addition to encouraging the strengthening of the clubs' junior categories, which gain a larger and more structured calendar", says Aline Pellegrino, CBF's Coordinator of Women's Competitions.
Despite the diversity, 7 out of 8 editions of the championship were won by teams from São Paulo, hegemony broken only by the title won by Flamengo.
An IBGE survey revealed that while 41% of boys start playing sports between 6 and 10 years of age, less than 30% of girls have the same experience. This data represents the main challenge of women's junior soccer: by starting to train later, girls reach the professional level without the same mastery of the fundamentals.
“We need to get these athletes to be recruited sooner. We need to provide the girls with frequent and quality training conditions. It is about providing opportunities for them to start younger in soccer already thinking of a career project", said Jonas Urias, coach of the under-20 national team.
In the US, for example, investments are made for the qualification of athletes from the age of 5 onwards, with several competitions promoted by the clubs. Here, the first official junior competition was only held in 2017, with the creation of the Under-17 São Paulo Championship. In this sense, Brazil still has a lot to improve in order to become more competitive.
"We are seeing more junior competitions and this turns the wheel and makes clubs start to invest in the junior soccer categories as well, providing training conditions and structure. With more competitions and games, this is the first step for the women's soccer machine to turn and we will see more and more young girls playing soccer in Brazil", concluded Jonas.
12 out of 25 athletes selected for the national team play in Brazilian Women's Soccer Championship. With half the national team playing on national soil, it is understood that the championship is competitive enough to embrace the best athletes. Formiga's recent comeback to São Paulo, followed by Cristiane's arrival to Santos, shows that international level athletes are opting for the national championship, making it more attractive.
By bringing idols closer to their fans, clubs attract sponsors and make the wheel turn with more quality.
With only 8 years of existence, the Brazilian Women's Soccer Championship is still growing in quality and visibility, but it already stands out in terms of international competitiveness and may come to figure among the best in the world in a few years.
There is a lot to improve, mainly through junior competitions and recruitment of young talent. At the same time, with an average age of 24 years old, we find a championship that mixes well the young talents with the experience of great idols.
With the creation of the U-17 São Paulo Championship in 2017, and the first U-18 national competition in 2019, clubs and federations have demonstrated that they are moving towards taking junior soccer to the next level, a fundamental factor for the competitiveness of the national scenario.
Neoenergia is the first company in the country to exclusively sponsor the women's national team. Neonergia and Iberdrola Group are developing a project that encourages the participation of women in sports, and which currently has more than 330,000 athletes subsidized by the brand.
" Neoenergia's support for women's sport reinforces the company's commitment to expanding women's participation in the social and professional context, promoting gender equity. We believe in equality in all fields and share with these players the same values as effort, overcoming, professionalism andteamwork," says Mario Ruiz-Tagle, CEO of Neoenergia.