From relegation in 2007, Barcelona Femenino A has clawed all the way to the top of the First Division table in 2011-12, recording a ridiculous 14 straight wins to start the season, losing once and drawing once in 24 matches to date. Xavi Llorens coached them through both highs and lows, and his assistant coach, Berta Carles, was a member of the 2006-07 squad that was relegated. Captain Ani Escribano, Vicky Losada, Melanie Serrano and Marta Unzue have played through it all since 2006, and the success of the current squad is based on a healthy mixture of club veterans, new recruits from other clubs like Sonia Bermudez, Miriam Dieguez, Flor Quinones and Kenti Robles, and players who have come up through the ranks of the Barcelona youth system like Guti and Leila Ouahabi.

I wish with all my heart that I could say that the club was promoting our women’s team as well as they deserve, but frankly it isn’t; this is the first time the long-term project of coach Xavi Llorens has started to show fruit in terms of results, and while everybody likes a success story, there isn’t a history of support and media promotion for the women’s teams at Barça to draw on. There is little information about Femenino A on the official FC Barcelona website, even less in English, and some of what is there is out of date. This post was cobbled together from a variety of sources; most of the text is translated from an article on the official site, but the photos are taken primarily from the players’ social media platforms, the links to which I have provided to the best of my ability.

One-on-one with the Blaugrana Ladies

FC Barcelona’s Femenino A are unstoppable this season, thanks to the work and commitment of the players. The girls combine their work and studies with the game in the women’s first team

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The team of Xavi Llorens is having an impressive season, and the greater part of the credit lies with his players, who play tirelessly week after week to progress and keep winning. Furthermore, the value of these players is double, since they combine sport with their work or studies. “They combine it all because there’s a limited salary and they can’t live off of football,” explains their trainer, Xavi Llorens.

The coach of the blaugrana first team has done a review of his players and highlighted the qualities of each of them:

Elixabete Sarasola Nieto: One of the team’s goalkeepers, 20 years old. Xavi defines her as a “secure and agile” goalkeeper. Hailing from Donostia (San Sebastian), she joined the blaugrana club in the 2009/10 season, when she was only 18 years old. (twitter facebook webpage)

ImageLaura Rafols Parellada: The other goalkeeper of the women’s team is a player who is “committed to the club, well-placed in goal and responsible.” This young player began to play football with Atletico Vilafranca when she was only five years old, before she left them at age 14 for Barça. (twitter facebook)

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Ana María López Escribano, ‘Ani’: Ani is the captain of the team, a responsibility which she has won with a lot of work: “She is the captain, with that I say it all,” explains her coach when asked about her. The blaugrana defender was born in 1981. (twitter facebook)

Laura Gómez Gutiérrez: The blaugrana defender is “all character and determination.” Laura began her football career in CD Zarautz, before signing for Real Sociedad and later for Barcelona. (facebook, twitter)

ImageLeila Ouahabi El Ouahabi: Leila Ouahabi plays with the Spanish U-19s and took part in qualifying for the European Championship a few months ago. For Xavi Llorens, this young player, who is only 18 years old, “has an amazing future ahead.” (facebook)

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left, with Carol

Melisa Nicolau Martín: This Mallorcan defender has a good CV: two Ligas and one Queen’s Cup. She signed for Barça in 2010, and Xavi defines her as a player with “commitment and character.” (twitter facebook)

María Victoria Losada Gómez, ‘Vicky’: Vicky plays in the midfield for Barcelona’s senior women’s team, and she has been called up on several occasions to the Spanish national team. This player stands out for her “quality and intelligence.” (website facebook)

ImageMarta Unzué Urdaniz: Marta Unzué is a player from Pamplona who left Osasuna’s cantera to come play for FC Barcelona. She is a “responsible and serious” person, as her coach tells us. (facebook, twitter)

ImageMontserrat Tomé Vázquez: Montserrat Tomé joined the blaugrana women’s team in the summer of 2010, coming from Levante, and she was brought up in the lower categories of Ovideo Moderno. Xavi Llorens defines this midfielder as “the veteran” and “poise.” (facebook)

ImageCarol Férez Méndez: This girl from Sabadell was the top goalscorer of the blue-and-white youth team for two seasons. Twenty years old, the striker is “intermittent but with quality,” according to her coach. (twitter facebook)

Olga García Pérez: “The goal and the power” of the team is only 19 years old, but she already has a very important role in the team. It was she who scored the winning goal in the Queen’s Cup in 2011. (twitter facebook)

ImageMelanie Serrano Pérez: Melanie is 22 years old, and her coach highlights her “pure quality with the left leg.” This player has also been called up before for the Spanish national team. (facebook)

Marta Corredera Rueda: the blaugrana striker has been called up before for the Spanish women’s national team. For Xavi Llorens she is the “speed and professionalism” of the team. (twitter facebook)

ImageAlba Aznar Martí: The coach of the women’s first team is clear that this player will go far: “She’s all electricity and she has an important future ahead.” She has been a part of the Spanish U-18 and U-19 national teams. (twitter facebook)

ImageSonia Bermúdez Tribano: Xavi Llorens has nothing but praise for her: “Goals, quality, leadership, before us is the best female player in Spain.” Sonia has been called up several times to the Spanish national team. (twitter facebook)

ImageMiriam Diéguez de Oña: Miriam is “responsibility,” “leadership,” and “competitive, a crack,” according to her coach. This player has been called up before to the Spanish senior women’s team.

ImageLaura Gutiérrez Navarro: Laura has several times been a part of the regional women’s U-18 team. This player, who is only 17, has “a lot of quality, with an impressive future,” the coach of the blaugrana ladies tells us. (twitter facebook)

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left, with Leila

Ludmila Manicler: the Argentine is an international with Argentina’s women’s team. Xavi Llorens considers her a striker who is “aggressive, ambitious, full of fight, she’s all character.” (facebook twitter)

María Florencia Quiñones: Flor won her first title with Barcelona in 2011, the Copa Catalunya. She also plays with the Argentine national team. For Barça’s coach, she is “a character, competitive, generous, a tireless worker.” (facebook twitter)

Vaitiare Kent Robles: the Mexican defender joined FC Barcelona in 2011, after having played with Espanyol since she was 14. She is “speed, ambition and youth.” She also plays with the Mexican national team. (twitter facebook)

Image(mostly via fcbarcelona.es)

Now that you’ve met the squad, you can watch them in action in a friendly against INAC Kobe here!

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