Patricia Rodriguez She never imagined herself in the world of soccer, but her life turned upside down the day she responded to an advertisement on a website for a job at a club. In 2014, she started working as Financial Director at the Eibar and two years later she moved to the position of Managing Director, thus becoming the first executive woman of a club of the First Division of Spanish soccer. Over time, he added more and more responsibilities until he felt that his cycle in the institution was complete and he stepped aside. Last year, she faced a new challenge in her career and took over as Managing Director of the Elche currently playing in the Second category. In addition, she recently made history again when she was named Second Vice President of the League and transform into first woman to exercise that role.
He "Glass roof" It is a concept that refers to the enormous limitations and difficulties that women still face today to access hierarchical positions in organizations. Rodríguez is aware of these obstacles – and many others – and that is why he has taken a clear position. "I feel a certain responsibility: if I am here and I made my way, I think my obligation is to try to help and open the way for others"He held days ago in a talk via Zoom that he organized Registered Marketing under the title of “Women leaders in world football”.
In his four-year project in Elche, Rodríguez seeks to dump all the learning he acquired during his time at Eibar. His management at the head of the Basque Country as a whole was based on some key points such as promoting internationalization, the commitment to modernization and closeness, and social initiatives, among others. Empower women in professional sports It was another of his objectives and, for that, he promoted the realization of common campaigns between the club's men's and women's soccer teams.
To this day, the CEO of Elche is a fervent defender of women's football and ensures that it is not “a fashion”, but rather a discipline that must be supported and promoted so that, little by little, its fruits can be seen.
During his tenure at Eibar, Rodríguez took responsibility for empowering the club's female team with more investment and giving it a greater structure. He also added the players to the communication campaigns on equal terms with their colleagues on the men's team.
"The response to these communication actions was very good and It was very good for the players of the men's team ‘to put their feet on the ground’. The campaigns were carried out in the gaps that the players had between their jobs and training. In those moments they realized that, in the end, they were as soccer players as they were and they had a lot of appreciation and respect for what they did. Suddenly they said to themselves ‘I am here for a while, then I go home and earn a lot more, and she cannot support herself with the salary she has here. He has to have another job and even so he gives everything to play and to do his best, ’” Rodríguez recalled.
As a result of these bets, the women's Eibar achieved promotion to the Second Division in 2015 and in the last season achieved the great goal of go up to the First Division, the Iberdrola League. Although the leader is no longer in the institution, the current CEO of Elche feels that the policies applied during her tenure were what led to this successful present.
One of the phrases that is still repeated by those who still denounce women's football is that the discipline “does not generate money”. Beyond the debatable of the foundations of this affirmation, Rodríguez has a clear answer for those who maintain those discourses: “In the 2000s, approximately 70% of Spain's men's soccer clubs entered bankruptcy. So I ask myself, what is less profitable than that? Nothing. We still don't know of any women's soccer club that has entered that situation. ”
"I believe that women's football must be endowed with resources, invest in it and then it will pay off, just as the men's team has. Saying that about the profitability of women's football doesn't work, because if that were the case, we wouldn't have men's football either. We would have stopped competing and we would have closed all the clubs. However, they were rescued. That generosity that as a society has been had for men's soccer is what the feminine would have to receive today. The men's teams have to shoulder their shoulders and support their female colleagues, "she added without hesitation.
Rodríguez argued that the 2019 World Cup in France was "a turning point" for the discipline of women and detailed what the steps to follow to sustain its growth should be: "It must be endowed with a structure that is dedicated to that particular project and that it is not only to give him 'what is left over from the masculine', but to have his own entity. Today there are many sponsors and media interested in the female. If there is a serious project and generation of resources, we will succeed in equipping it with the means to grow. Although today the activity is not generating the same money as the masculine one – although that will eventually come – it must be treated the same within the club and given the same opportunities, the same treatment and the same communication ”.
"You have to think that this is for long, that it is not a fashion. You have to join now because the train is going to pass and, if you don't catch it, you will regret it ”, concluded the leader.
I KEPT READING:
He is Argentine, coaches women's teams in the United States and assures: "The people who say that women's football is not good, is because they have not seen it"
The differences between women's and men's soccer: the innovative approach with which they work in the Women's U17 in Uruguay
He overcame breast cancer and went back to playing football professionally: the inspiring story of Toni Deion Pressley