From Haiti To FIFA World Cup: Women’s Football Rises In Popularity

The rise in popularity of women’s football has soared over the last couple of years.

For example, over 365 million people watched the Women’s Euro in 2022, while over 50 million watched the final where England beat Germany at Wembley.

However, there is still so much more potential, although there is still a large disparity between both males and females, especially when it comes to pay.

Sometimes the pay is so low for female football players that they are priced out of playing any football professionally.

For Women’s Day, The Bulrushes spoke to Roselord Borgella, who is a Haitian International female footballer who plays as a forward for Dijon FCO and Haiti women’s national team to hear how football has transformed her life.

Borgella started with some tough beginnings and did not think she would ever become a football player.

However, when I asked her about what inspired her to become a football player she said: “when I was young, I used to play football with my boy friends in my neighbourhood.

“At the time, I did not think of becoming a football player. Women’s football was not developed in Haiti.

“But everything started to get serious when I entered the Range Croix des Bouquets training centre, I started to follow women’s football and I had Marta Vieira Da Silva as a model who is a very good player and I wanted to turn professional.”

There were also times where Borgella wanted to give up.

She said::  “I wanted to give up several times. Nothing has ever been easy for me. I haven’t always had people around me to help me find clubs. Some clubs gave me no importance, no recognition.

“Luckily, I have talent and it’s thanks to that that I was able to get out of it, because even if it doesn’t go well in the locker room, when I arrive on the football pitch I do what I know to do, play football.”

Borgella shared her biggest failure and how she managed to overcome it.

“I failed in South Korea at the Suwon FC club, because I had no representation,” she said.

“It was my first professional contract. There were many things that I did not know. I stayed a few months in South Korea, then I had to return to Haiti.

“The only way for me to overcome that was to leave Haiti and go to another country to find other opportunities.

“I made it to Chile. I did everything to get to the try-outs and I was accepted. I was scoring goals. This really boosted my confidence. But I will never forget my experience in Korea.”

For the first time ever, the Haiti national football team will be making an appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer in Australia/New Zealand. After beating Chile 2-1, Haiti is finally heading to play alongside England, Denmark and China.

Borgella says: “We had a goal which was to play the World Cup because this is the first time that the senior women’s team of Haiti will play a World Cup.

“Our goal is to give everything on the field and to go as far as possible. We want to make all Haitians proud.”

Borgella also spoke passionately about the struggles of women’s football and what she would like to see change.

She said: “Our football lacks visibility and support. The media is not really interested in women’s football, so neither are the fans and it is difficult to make a living out of this career.

“We don’t have the same equipment as men. Sometimes women train on non-professional grounds.

“Even if the men play in the 3rd division, they will always have better equipment than women in the first division.

“There is no VAR in the women’s championship, only in international competitions.

“This is a problem too. I hope that one day this will change and that we will give more importance to women’s football.

“Women deserve that because they do the same work and make the same sacrifices.”

Finally, Borgella shared her advice for women and girls who want to start a career in football.

She said: “For women, I would tell them to surround themselves with people they trust.

“Having talent is good, but it’s also important to have a representative to help you make informed decisions because you might get less than you deserve.

“For little girls, they will surely hear that it’s a game for boys. It was my case too.

“Even in the family, there will be people who will discourage you. Don’t listen to them!

“Don’t feel discouraged. There will always be critics in football. When you lose or miss a goal you will be criticized and when you score goals and win games you are applauded.

“Even today, I have had more criticism than encouragement from Haitians. You have to have a strong mind and think about your goals every day. So, you have to have all that in mind, otherwise it can be very difficult to overcome.

“Even if you fail, do not give up. I could have quit football dozens of times, and luckily, I didn’t. In a few months I will play my first World Cup and it was one of my biggest dreams.”

There is still so much to be done in football for women to feel encouraged to play and thrive in this sport.

The upcoming world cup in July is going to be an exciting time for 32 teams and Haiti is looking to make it to the end.

Who will you be cheering on?