15 players from the Spanish National women’s soccer team sent out exact letters explaining that unless there were changes made to how the national team is run, they will not play for the team. While the players have not outright called for the resignation of the current coach, Jorge Vilda, it is clear from their comments that they no longer support the method with which he runs the team.
Citing that Vilda’s coaching style has negatively affected “their emotional state and their health,” these 15 players refuse to be called upon to join the National team. In response to their defiance, the Spanish soccer federation has thrown its support behind Coach Vilda. Explaining that the players have no right to blackmail the leadership into changing, they warned that there would be serious consequences for this infraction. In order to be allowed back on the team, the players will be required to apologize. The federation claims that they are “not going to allow the players to question the continuity of the national coach and his coaching staff, since making those decisions does not fall within their powers.”
By: Advika Rajeev
However, player Alexia Putella has a different take on what occurred. Instead of “renouncing” the national team, she understands the situation as players bringing up their concerns with the federation in order for the negative situations to be changed.
On Twitter, Putella posts “Who would think that eight months before a World Cup a group of top players, which we consider ourselves to be, would make this decision, as it has been understood publicly, on a whim or as blackmail?”
She calls out the federation for making those private emails public and inviting this issue into the public eye.
What happens now?
Regardless, Coach Vilda has publicly notified that he will not be resigning and he is disappointed and upset about the unfolding of these events. He did not include the 15 players who sent emails in the lineup to play against the US and Sweden. In a joint statement by the federation, the National team will not accept any players “who do not want to wear the Spain shirt.”
Soccer star Jenni Hermoso called the last couple days of the public dispute between her teammates and the leadership as some of the “worst moments in the history of women’s football in Spain.” Throwing her support behind her teammates, she expanded on her own rocky moments with the team. Currently, five new players have been called on for the team, but it is unsure whether any lasting internal changes will be made to satisfy the players who spoke out.