8-M: ‘Nita’, the first soccer player in Spain, dressed up as a man to play

At International Women’s Day, it is necessary to remember stories of athletes who broke barriers. One of the most surprising cases is that of Anita Carmona Ruiz, ‘Nita‘, The first female footballer on record in Spain who did the unthinkable to fulfill her passion.

Not even in the mind of the best screenwriter in Hollywood could such a story fit. ‘Nita‘Was a woman from Malaga, born in 1908, who dreamed of playing soccer. She was the youngest of four siblings, the daughter of a stevedore from the port of Malaga and a housewife, as was the custom at that time among most women.

Needless to say, the macho mentality of the time did not allow a girl to dress short and jump into the field. ‘Nita ‘was exposed to serious penalties and sentences, including jail, in addition to the insults and threats of those who did not see with good eyes that a woman played soccer.

Nita Carmona, the first soccer player in Spain

She trained in secret from her parents on the large esplanades of the Malaga dock, like so many other children, and at a young age she began to participate in the games played by a group of young people on that esplanade next to the pier.

Jesus Hurtado, A sports journalist in Malaga and a collector of sports articles, he came across this story when writing about the Vélez Club de Fútbol, ​​the Dean’s club in the province of Malaga. “I saw that there was a footballer who was always referred to as‘ Veleta ’, but no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find his name … In the end they told me. ‘Veleta’ was a woman and they couldn’t say anything because they made a spell to keep silence on this matter for years, “he explains on his blog Velezedario.

Thus, she discovered that ‘Nita’ managed to land at Sporting de Málaga, first as an assistant to the club’s masseur, Juanito Marteache, and later as the person in charge of washing the equipment. To do this, she had “her best accomplice”, her grandmother Ana. Finally, the young woman managed to play some games with the team. Of course, all those who will not be played at home so as not to be recognized.

His method was infallible: he disguised himself as a man. Having received dressmaking classes, as was customary among women of the time, she herself adjusted her equipment to make it loose and thus hide her anatomy. He also cut his hair to look like a boy.

Some rivals noticed. And as soon as it became known that she was a woman, “they denounced her and betrayed her,” Hurtado says. The only solution was to flee the town so as not to enter jail.

Even so, Anita Carmona Ruiz was playing soccer with Vélez until the mid-1930s, shortly before the Civil War began, when he could no longer manage to go unnoticed.

He died very young, just 32 years old. She asked to be buried with the Sporting de Málaga shirt, the club of her loves. She will go down in history as the first female soccer player in Spain.