“Kör på nu, flickor! Få bollen i mål!” (Keep going, girls! Get the ball in the goal!) Calvia Beach Padel and Football Club in Magaluf,electric green in the early evening sun, reverberates to shouted Swedish football commands. It’s the last match of the season, and CAP – Chicas Al Poder (girls of power) – are out in force.
It is also the first real match of the season for the girls, because CAP have only been in existence for a few months. But today the excitement and nervousness are palpable as they face a proper opponent for the first time.
And the opponent is – the girls’ parents.
Some of the fathers are exactly double the height of the youngest girls, and the match at times reminds one of a bunch of tiny wombats in pink shirts going head to head with a herd of giraffes. But even the tallest of fathers and the fastest of mothers are no match for Chicas Al Poder, who literally run rings around them.
Running at breakneck speed and throwing themselves fearlessly into every tackle with the adults towering over them, the youngest of the CAP teams finish the match with a very decent 3 – 3 draw, which should have been 4 – 3 to the girls, had a stupid goal post not got in the way.
It is obvious that the players have been training hard., and their gung-ho attitude as well as ball control and technique are quite impressive even to a football idiot like your reporter.
“We started out with only five players last September, but word got around incredibly quickly, and now we have so many girls – 25 – that we’ll have to divide them into two teams today,” laughs Norwegian Anne Reese, head of the supporting team and mother of ruthless striker Astrid.
The majority of the players are Swedish, and the language of the match seems to be predominantly Swedish with some Spanish, Norwegian and German thrown in. Even the girls’ Mallorquin trainer, Pedro Gost, speaks Swedish fluently.
Or make that one of the team’s trainers, for, young as they are, they already have two trainers, Gost and the Swede Maria Åtting.
“The idea of starting a girls’ football team was actually born in Norway and Sweden more or less at the same time,” Åtting says, recalling how she and Reese both happened to be in their respective countries on sabbaticals with their daughters, who both played football on girls’ teams in their home countries.
“And both the girls said “Mom, when we get back to Palma, let’s start a girls’ football team!””
And so CAP burst upon the scene, as the only girls’ football team in all of Mallorca.
In the beginning they played on asphalt – ouch! But scrubbed elbows and knees didn’t dampen the girls’ enthusiasm.
They kept running, tackling and kicking, and soon they had their own club logo and proper shirts, as well as, eventually, a real grass pitch to play on.
“Yes, we have been very lucky in that the famous local football team Son Calieu in Palma Nova have generously offered us the use of their grass pitch for an hour and a half every Wednesday,” says Reese, who also organised the post-match barbecue.
Now the girls of CAP are eagerly awaiting players of their own age and height to go up against. What about a proper Mallorca Cup for girls’ football in Spain, maybe all of Europe, next season? The players, trainers and support team of CAP are certainly all up for it.
And for the parents, who suffered a crushing 2 - 4 by the knee-height demons in the second match, such a cup probably can’t come soon enough.