Carmen Arce or better known as ‘Kubal’ was born on January 11, 1956 and is one of the pioneers of Spanish women’s football. Was the first goalkeeper to put on her gloves and defend the National Team’s goal. On February 21, 1971, he made his debut with the national team, but that team disappeared due to the lack of support from the Federation. VAVEL has had the opportunity to speak with Kubalita. A generation that, if it hadn’t been for them, today women’s football would be completely different.
Kubalita, Alexia, Viktoria. 🇪🇸
Three generations, one passion: football. pic.twitter.com/YxGYkiPEQu
— FIFA Women’s World Cup (@FIFAWWC) November 22, 2022
Where did your passion for soccer come from?
From home. My brother played goalkeeper in the Don Boscoof the Salesians. My father was a big fan of Valencia, and football was in the air in my house. Very natural.
When did you start playing in a women’s team?
When I was 14 years old, they put an ad in a newspaper in Valencia that they were looking for girls, in a young age range, to form a team. I introduced myself, at home they didn’t put any trouble on me. And so I started playing.
Her name is Carmen Arce, the nickname ‘Kubalita’, where does she come from?
Because of my features. There was a player in the Barcelona who was blond with blue eyes, Giving birth. They thought I looked like it, and they gave me that nickname. They also tried to get him to play as a winger like him or a forward, but he did it very badly. And one day when the training was over, I was disappointed because I was doing terrible, I stayed with some colleagues and they started to shoot me in the goal. They saw me play as a goalkeeper and there I was going to play my first game as a goalkeeper.
Did you encounter any problems in your career?
I’m talking about my environment, my personal experience, neither in the families, nor in the area where I lived, nor in the classmates, nor in the school, I never had any problem. It’s more, I have no experience of being disrespected when playing or told something out of tune. It did happen, it was very exceptional. Then at the time, I don’t remember having problems for being a woman and playing soccer. It wasn’t until long after it was over, which was when we realized that the Federation and the Institutions didn’t want us to do it.. He gradually faded away from us, not allowing us to have financing and not federating us. But it was much later, at the time I was playing I was not aware of it.
What was women’s football like in the 70s?
We played first Racingthen in the Marcroland then in the Hercules during a season with a particularity. On the one hand, we had a federated coach who taught us how to play soccer. He took us to Salt to do training in the dunes and thus strengthen the legs. Then we had with him Marcrol, which were a department store, which sponsored us. Thus, we did not have the problem of boots, uniforms or the bus to get around. I have a positive experience in that regard.
A special memory?
He be internationalalthough we wore a shirt, that the shield was from a warehouse with a safety pin. Listening to the anthem and feeling like you’re representing your country, there’s nothing like it.
Any funny anecdote you want to tell?
I remember a game, playing in Barcelona and two friends from another team came to see me. There was a man who kept telling me that she was very short, that she was not going to see a single one…
And in that I made one of the stops in history. A center of a corner, to the small area, they shot me at the head, and I took a ball out of the squad flying. And my friends, “now what? And now that? And now that?” Now he does not say, and the poor man left, because of course the poor man was very upset, because in addition it was a very nice move. It was funny.
How was the media treatment?
Very good. Keep in mind that in the first game I played in Madrid, for example, we went to the office of the Brand. We were greeted and attended to, shown to the office and so on. I mean that… and with the old journalists, like for example, Carmenwho is, let’s say, the mother of all current sports journalists, Olga Viza’s teacherteacher of many people, who came to our games and with great respect, the media with great respect, both on the radio and in the press.
And what was the key moment when you began to be so recognized?
Was a instant boom. I mean, we, for example, in Valencia, we play in Benidorm contra Six Madrid. Today, the first match we played together, and the second we played in Madrid, the media received us. I have played with fields full of 10,000 spectators.
Now there is talk of records and large masses of fans in key matches, but you also filled fields in your day, right?
In it Levant fieldfor example, against Barcelona, there were 10,000. And then in a game we played in Málaga contra Fuengirolain the Rosaleda, I was full. So for us it was very normal to come to play a tournament and there were a lot of people in the stadiums. It was totally normal.
Your link with football will be forever, how is it now after so many years?
Bueno, they made us leave football first because the institutions drowned us because they didn’t want to. And we were at an age… I was one of the youngest. I was 18 or 19 when I finished. I had classmates of 21 or 23 years old, who already had work, school or family obligations, which did not allow you to travel 30 km to train 2 or 3 days a week, and go out every weekend. Thus, it is between the institutions and personal needs, football is over.
So I had a lot of pain, I had a very deep duel with him, because also, without having anything to do with football, they operated on my knees, I was very young, 19 years old, and I went from being an athlete to not being able to go down the stairs. And then I had a terrible duel that I couldn’t see in football, nor in women’s football, nor in the training that there were goalkeepers in the Valencia warm-ups. I tried to go to girls soccer and couldn’t. until the World Cup 2019, I returned to Spain, I stood up, I heard the anthem and it was as if I were there. And that day I was cured and since 2019 I am very aware of everything that happens in the world of women’s football.
How do you see the evolution of current Spanish women’s football?
Well, I see it in many aspects, which is another dimension, not only because of the fields, because of the professionalism and so on, but there are still things that are difficult and that continue to be difficult for the players. An example: the league, the federation, the unions they are fighting for a minimum wage, and they are fighting and failing to reach an agreement. And for a player, during the time she is a player, to be able to play, she needs a minimum salary, enough, so that she can dedicate herself to soccer, or that she is studying, doing whatever, for later. So, there has been a very good agreement of 25,000 euros for the referees that they were on strike, and they achieved it this season, and instead, finding the point, there are certain clubs that do not exceed the minimum interprofessional salary, another of the unions is asking for 30,000 euros a year, they do not reach an agreement and such. That is a question.
Another issue is that women, in their best moments of professionalism, are at the age where they can be mothers. I mean, from young girls at 30and the protection that a player, for example, who is playing soccer, can get pregnant and then have the insurance and the possibility of being charged during the time until he recovers, for example, that is an issue that is also important . And there are teams that do it well and there are teams that don’t do it so well..
The World Cup in Australia begins in just 2 months, how do you see Spain?
I think that they should all be there without any exception, and that Spain could have a phenomenal result.. In any case, if for reasons unrelated to sports, in the end 24 or 25 players go and are left out of TOP, the Spanish players will fight to the death. What you feel when you put on your shirt and go out onto the field is inexplicable. It keeps you away from all the noise outside. But how spain and football fan, I would like the only condition for the world is that they were the best in their position and the ones that are in the best shape.
I have read that you were good at saving penalties, with the World Cup just around the corner, what would you say to Mass Rodriguez?
There are very good goalkeepers in Spain. Everything seems to indicate that the goalkeeper is going to be Misa. The best thing I could say to Misa it is that she should enjoy and forget the world of the Internet and what they say about her because she is an extraordinary goalkeeper and she needs to be playing. Be in what she is and not be aware of other things.
What would you say to a young soccer player who is just starting out in the world of soccer?
Enjoy every day, every training session, enjoy the team, all the positive values that football and teamwork have. But you have to have a life and a future. No matter how much you like it, you have to study and have alternatives in case you do well. Because you will do well and in case it fails, so that you have a place and support. Very few people arrive and those who do arrive run out.
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