One day after scoring a goal for Bayern Munich in their victory against Werder Bremen, Vero Boquete was in her home country of Spain being named the sixteenth La Liga Ambassador. Vero is the youngest and the first woman to ever receive the honor. Other La Liga Ambassadors include David Albelda, Freddie Kanoute, Luis Figo, Michel Salgado, Carlos Puyol, Roberto Carlos, and Marcos Senna.
"Things are being done right; now La Liga has a department exclusively dedicated to women's football," Vero said. "What's more the [male] ambassadors are here to welcome me; if someone had told me that were going to happen 10 years ago, I'd have laughed in their face."
This is another step in the long process of the Spanish footballing authorities taking the women's game seriously. Pedro Malabia who is the head of the Department for Women's Football said, "It is a historic day for La Liga. The best player in our history is attached to this project."
Welcome to #LaLigaAmbassadors, @VeroBoquete! pic.twitter.com/BMa5M5ClXO— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) February 29, 2016
Led by Vero, Spain qualified for their first ever World Cup last summer in Canada. After the tournament, the players released a statement requesting backing from the Spanish federation and the removal of head coach Ignacio Quereda who had been in charge of the team since 1988. The federation backed the player and replaced Quereda with Jorge Vilda who was leading Spain's U-17 to their second U-17 World Cup championship under his reign.
"We're in the strongest position we've ever been in. The World Cup in Canada was a real high point for us and we're starting to see the creation of idol-like figures. It's vital that young girls can see that it's possible, that there is a future for them in the game and that they can go on to become professionals," Vero said. "This gives them added motivation. It no longer surprises you to see a girl playing football in Spain and we're aware of the efforts being made by LaLiga to try to help and promote the idea of a strong professional women's league in Spain. What we want is for an increasing amount of people to be able to identify with us."
Con este gol se estrenó @VeroBoquete como goleadora del @FCBfrauen en su victoria ante el Werder Bremen por 2-0. pic.twitter.com/3UCuIb6LGt— Raül Barberà (@Raul91RCF) February 28, 2016
Now that the federation is fully on board, Spain hopes to fully professionalize their top flight. "What we're doing here today is an obligation for us, we owe it to the women's game," La Liga President Javier Tebas said. "We haven't been at the level we should have been at during what has been a boom period for women's football in Spain. We're sorry for not having been involved in this at an earlier stage."
"We've got to make sure that the likes of Vero Boquete aren't forced to go and play abroad. Vero is part of the Spanish footballing brand and the LaLiga brand," Tebas continued. "This is something which helps us to ensure that LaLiga continues to grow throughout the world and keeps on gaining more fans. We want female football fans to see the women's game as being on a par with the men's."