For the first time in its history, the Vatican has a women’s football team, which will debut on May 26th in a friendly match against the girls of Rome (coming fourth in Serie A), and then flying to Vienna on June 22nd to compete against a selection local, as part of an international tournament organized by the Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital.
“Pope Francis has given a considerable boost to the presence of women in the Vatican” – Danilo Zennaro told the Guardian, as representative of the association Sport in the Vatican; “and this initiative is a further demonstration. Moreover, having a men’s soccer team for 48 years, it was right to offer the possibility also to women who work in the Vatican to practice this sport”.
Managed by Susan Volpini, secretary of the association ‘Women in the Vatican’, and trained by Gianfranco Guadagnoli, the players in yellow jersey and white shorts are employees of the Vatican (60%) or are wives (20%) and daughters (the remaining 20%) of employees working within the papal structures and although most of them have only amateur football experience, three have played at high levels, like the Cameroonian striker Eugene Tcheugoue, who is also the captain of the team. “The challenge against Roma will be difficult, but if in the end they lose 30 to 0, it doesn’t matter, because what matters is that these women have the opportunity to meet professional players and create bonds and friendships,” Zennaro concluded.