Women’s football | North Americans on a mission as ‘new Portuguese’

“We try to adapt them to our play model in the training sessions,” Jorge says of guiding the “new Portuguese” players. “Although they come from different football cultures, they are intelligent players who adapt easily and that adaptation to our playing style has been easy. We did not make training different for them.”

To João Maria Xavier, capped 76 times for the national team as defensive midfielder, the newcomers have challenged the native Portuguese in practice with their strength and speed and brought a high understanding of tactics. The expatriates, in turn, have learned technical skills and a different approach to the game.

“In my opinion all the players should have the same opportunities to play for the national team,” Xavier says. “This includes the players from other countries—with some conditions. They have to be better than the others playing in Portugal.”


Portugal managed just two draws, against Scotland and Ukraine, in qualifying for the UEFA Women’s European Championship in Finland beginning in Aug 09. The senior team finished at the bottom of Group 5.

A 0–0 result against Norway on Oct 1 gave the U-19 Portuguese side the final slot in the second round of qualifiers for the UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship. Twenty-four teams will be drawn into six groups on Nov 19. The finals are Jul 09 in Belarus.

About the author

Tim Grainey is a regular contributor to World Football Pages in Canada and has written previously for the Global Game on FC Indiana (18 Jul 08). He is writing a book, Beyond “Bend It Like Beckham”: Women’s Soccer as a Global Phenomenon. Grainey can be reached at Tgrainey@gmail.com.

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2 comments on this post.
  1. Of Nationalities and National Teams - USA:

    [...] American players with multiple lineages for many years now. I’ll let Timothy Grainey at The Global Game explain further: Ahead of the 1999 Women’s World Cup in the United States, Mexico stocked more [...]

  2. x-factor:

    Great piece … I’d like to see more on this subject, with more detail about how to follow these players in the media. The only issue I had with the above is that players like Emerson (playing for Qatar, for whom he has no ancestry but gets paid a lot) can’t be fairly compared to women playing for their “blood” countries who pay them little but allow them to re-establish a link with their family roots.

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