In 2011, aged just 16, Cecilia Santiago became the youngest goalkeeper to play at a FIFA Women’s World Cup
She also kept goal for El Tri in the subsequent edition at Canada 2015 and played in three editions of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
Prior to signing for PSV, the 25-year-old had already played in Mexico, the USA, and Cyprus
It all started with Carlos Salcido and his move to PSV Eindhoven in 2006. The experience was so good that his fellow countrymen Francisco Maza Rodriguez, Andres Guardado, Hector Moreno, Hirving Chucky Lozano, and Erick Gutierrez followed.
The Dutch club has recently become the preferred travel destination for Mexicans who want to move to Europe. “They really like us here,” says the youngest addition, goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago, who was the first female professional from Mexico to follow in the footsteps of her male compatriots.
The Shot Stopper talks to FIFA.com a year after their PSV adventure and says: “The Mexicans who have been here having done a great job and it is cool that they have paved the way for women. That brings responsibility knowing that if I do it well, others can come after me. “
A Country Where Less Motivation For Women To Play
Although the chance to win the Eredivisie 2019/2020 was denied for the rest of the season due to the COVID 19 suspension, PSV has been nominated for participation in the 2020/21 UEFA Women’s Champions League. For ‘Ceci’ her first year was very positive overall.
“I am growing and enjoying the experience. Coming to the Netherlands was an important decision and I am happy. Last year their [women’s] national team was second at the World Cup and the league has achieved a lot. The World Cup boom, the league has more Attracted media attention and people showed more interest. Sometimes we even play in the same stadiums as the men. “
The goalkeeper came into the Dutch league after two seasons with one of Mexico’s best teams, Club America. “The biggest difference is that the league has been professional for a long time and the players are more experienced and mature. I learn a lot,” she says. ‘Ceci’ hopes that this experience will help her spend more time with the national team. “I hope it reflects my work. It is good preparation to represent Mexico in the best possible way.”
Live Away From Home
The zookeeper has adapted well to a country whose climate and customs are very different from those she left behind. “Yes, the Netherlands are completely different (laughs). When I tell people that the typical temperature in Mexico is 24-25 degrees, they say: ‘What !?'”
The support of her compatriot Erick Gutierrez and above all that of her teammates was a great help. “This support was fundamental because while I was living abroad before I wasn’t alone. I feel more mature now. It’s cool when people help you and you feel at home when you are far away . “”
One of the people who helped the most with their change last season was their rival for jersey # 1, Spaniard Eli Sarasola. “She helped me a lot. She has been in the Netherlands for a long time, so she knows the language the way it is … Having someone by your side who speaks your language is very special, and she is one amazing keeper. I think we learned a lot from each other. unfortunately, she’s retiring.
Practice To Learn How To Play
Sarasola’s successor and the person ‘Cecilia Santiago’, who will fight to defend the PSV goal next season, are not only goalkeepers but also Dutch captain Sari van Veenendaal, winner of the Golden Glove Prize at France 2019 and the prize for the best FIFA women goalkeeper 2019. “I’m very happy about Sari,” she says with a broad smile.
“Of course it will be a very tough competition, but it will allow me to measure myself and see where I really am, and also to learn. Being able to train with the best in the world on a daily basis will benefit both of me his and the team. So yes, I’m happy and eager too! I hope she learned some Spanish – she played at Atletico Madrid last season – but if not, I have to teach her something (laughs). “