By Larissa Brainer, translated from Portuguese by Andrew Carten.
"Jogamos pra elas." "We play for them" because someday, somewhere, somebody said "no" to a girl who wanted to play in a pickup game. Because when teams are selected there's a girl who doesn't have a chance or is the last one chosen. Because there are some communities, neighborhoods, and schools where girls aren't even considered when it comes to playing on the field. Because we know so little about the history of female soccer, past, and present. Because there are some places like Zanzibar, where many women are judged "immoral" for playing the game. Because there are people who say "soccer is not a woman thing". Because at any moment the right to play and have fun with soccer was (or is) denied to girls and women.
Women like Aline Pellegrino, born with a love of the game and determined to see her dream come true as a professional player. Like Abby Wambach, the US National Team player, who after winning the World Cup, expressed her happiness and broke protocol by kissing her wife in celebration - #lovewins! Like the girls from San Antonio Palopó who had never played a game of soccer in their lives. Like Irene and Teresa who play ball with no regard to rules nor instruction, and make us hope that no one will never take that from them, whether in actions and or words. Like Annika and Sierra who showed their bravery in #GameFaces. Or like Yasmin, who with other teammates, made history taking part in the first female soccer match at the Arena Pernambuco.
All of them are girls who went (and are going) to the front with their passion to play. These are the stories that inspire and are a part of the #JogaPraElas campaign. They show us how the relationship with a ball can be important, empowering and transformative for girls too, despite it still being taken for granted in some places and situations.
#JogaPraElas was for the national teams' players of the 2015 Women's World Cup. So they could play thinking about all these girls, about the girls they themselves were in the past, about the girls they inspire and will inspire in the future.
The World Cup has come to an end, but #JogaPraElas is going to continue. While there are warriors inside the four lines of the field, we will be rooting for them and continuing our job to raise awareness of the issues that remain both on and off it.
Larissa is a Brazilian journalist, member of #lovefutbol since 2014 and coordinated the #JogaPraElas campaign.
#JogaPraElas is a social campaign launched by love.fútbol Brasil to shine a light on the women's game during the recent Women's World Cup in Canada in promoting gender equality and inclusion in the sport of soccer. By raising awareness of the issues that surround the game as it pertains to girls, love.fútbol hopes to inspire people to stand up for the other half in the world in their pursuit of play and free expression.