Years ago, because of things in life, as much as I loved and dreamed of belonging to football for many more years, I was left out of the world of football.
Despite going through moments of sadness and frustration, I kept fighting for my dream – which was to live and work for football.
A year ago, I looked for a way to connect with football again and I found the opportunity to apply to The FBA Master’s program. With greater confidence due to the skills that I have acquired in these years through studies in leadership and my base of physical education, I entered the task of earning a place in this Master’s degree, which I am sure will open the opportunity for me to achieve great dreams.
Entering the football business, which is marked by always being full of men, is a challenge but not impossible. Having in mind that we can give the same or more makes it more motivating but above all more challenging. And who does not like challenges?
My admission process was exciting but above all full of honesty. Every minute I expressed to them (The FBA) that my dream is to make the change and to arrive where I have always wanted to: to live and work for football.
In the middle of a pandemic, having financial resources is and was a doubt from the beginning but never an impediment to demonstrate that dreams should be worked on and not only dreamt. This is where I was positively surprised to learn about the Women in Football scholarship that the program grants to women with leadership potential in the football environment.
This scholarship covers 50% of the fees of the program. At the time, my first obstacle were the remaining fees and the mindset that it was impossible to gather the necessary funds. But then I reminded myself of my own speech that I gave during the interviews where I told The FBA “if I should sell my car or do whatever is necessary to enter the program, I will do it.” This is where I started the most interesting 3 months that so far, besides working towards a goal, I learned from the passion and experiences that I have managed to share with the people around me.
What did I have to do?
Effectively selling my car and looking for transportation alternatives, working 16-hour workdays from Monday to Monday, and cancelling vacations; all sacrifices I was willing to make in order to achieve a dream. After 3 months of this rhythm, I sought the help of my contacts and shared my story, my dream, and turned it into the dream of a whole community: To have a person with the necessary tools so that in the future we can jointly create a sports organization that achieves sports, academic and social changes.
Raising funds or doing fundraising activities is not normal in my country, Costa Rica, but I managed to get the support of more than 50 families who believed in my leadership and my desire to learn. But more importantly, to share at some point my knowledge that day in day out I’m sure that The FBA will give me for my future.
I invite all women to fight for their dreams, that being a woman does not mean that we do not deserve opportunities. Being a woman means perseverance, strength and above all it means that we can achieve what we want if we fight for it.
To change football, we must not only criticize or watch the others from the stands. To change football, we must act, prepare and put our ideas and leadership into action so that day by day football becomes less the sport of men, but rather the sport of EVERYONE.
My story is just beginning, my story is just beginning with a little glimpse of what is to come. If in this beginning of the process I have already learned the value I have of achieving my dreams, I cannot imagine what the conclusion of this journey will look like.
Paola is a Candidate of The FBA’s Professional Master in Football Business 8th Edition. She can be contacted via LinkedIn.