For good and bad reasons, there is more talk than ever about women’s soccer, and this Sunday we are going to talk about one of the pioneers of this sport in Spain: Carmen Arce.
Born in Valencia in 1956, Carmen Arce was born into a very soccer-loving family. Her older brother played goalkeeper and she emulated him when she played with him. In 1970, Carmen saw an ad in the newspaper: they were looking for girls to form a soccer team. She signed up.
Because of her features, she was christened ‘Kubalita’, after the legendary Laszlo Kubala. At first she was put in as a winger, but during a training session she decided to play as a goalkeeper, where she proved her worth. She was 15 years old.
A year later, an unofficial Spanish women’s soccer team was formed to tour Spain. The players met in Murcia, at the La Condomina stadium, in February 1971. But there was no anthem and the referee did not even wear the official kit. Be that as it may, these young women, many of them minors, were ahead of their time.
Lacking support of all kinds, that group disbanded in 1974, and Carmen Arce never played again. She was 19 years old. Shortly thereafter, she underwent surgery for a bone disease and had to give up the sport. In 1983, the first official women’s national team was formed. Carmen Arce could have made it, but circumstances did not align with her.
Carmen Arce, at 67 years old, lives in Valencia and follows very closely the current events of the sport in which she was a pioneer. Allow me to recommend you these two articles, from Newtral and the Valencian newspaper Levante, with her as the protagonist.