Katya Serra sneaks life

Fighter against stereotypes and gender discrimination. This is Katya Serra. It was during her long career as a football player that lasted 14 years – from 1986 to 2010 she won a Scudetto with Modena, three Italian Cups, the Italian Super Cup and the Italian Women’s Cup, and also wore the shirt of the national team – then as a federation director of the women’s sector of the Aic (association of footballers Italian Football) becoming Rai’s first female reporter to comment on the final of one of sport’s most prestigious tournaments with the highest male proportion of all time: the UEFA European Football Championship final on 11 July 2021 at Wembley as Italy beat England. Besides her activity as a commentator, she is also a lecturer at San Raffaele University in Rome, where she teaches “Models of Management of Women’s Football” and has recently published the book Una vita in fuorigioco (Fabbri Editori) in which he retraces the phases of his career and life: from the first training matches with friends in Backyard to experience in La Liga, from the forced choices that changed her life to the union fight for the rights of female players.

Serra, has often said that women’s soccer is not just a sport. What do you mean?
It includes within itself a life choice based on the struggle for liberation from a world that in the past has struggled to accept the option to play football, and still to this day treasures it. It is more than just a sport because it involves the dynamics of empowering women. Personally, I’ve tried it as an all-in-one option that goes beyond just a soccer goal.

Explain to us better…
The motivation that falls on the sport you play is usually related to having fun, sharing with others, overcoming one’s own limitations, etc. In short, all aspects that relate to the sporting value of the discipline. I played seven, eight different sports, and my last choice fell on football, and I realized over time that I chose it because it embodied the path to liberation from an oppressive culture that I did not like.

In his book, he talks about the differences between men’s and women’s football and the progress made in the last 30 years regarding training methods and playing strategies. Which shows that it is wrong to compare it to a men’s game, which is a mechanism for those who watch a match …
Constructive comparisons are accepted to explain those biological, anatomical, psychological and mathematical differences that exist. But when the comparison is used only to belittle and discredit him, it becomes unbearable. Among other things, I stayed in Italy solely on football, starting from the fact that every time the word “feminine” was selected. In other disciplines this is not the case.

There is a chapter called “Love, Career, and Homosexuality”. He’s talking here about being afraid of the referee when he played, but we can also say today…
There is certainly still a long way to go in this regard. I support the freedom to choose who I become, but judgment in any field is so frequent and you are unpopular if you do not follow traditions that it is difficult, especially in your youth, to remain true to yourself without being affected.

What hurt her the most?
What hurts me the most is that beauty and efficiency can’t travel together. One excludes the other. I never focused on aesthetics otherwise I would have had to choose other areas of work, but first as a footballer and then as a commentator it took many years before my professionalism was favored over the rest.

When I played there was no professionalism, now there is, at least for girls who play in the first division, a goal achieved. Since she was also a unionist, what was the next primary goal?
I have always supported it but for the cultural aspects the number of practitioners that have been brought in to make it take off one centralized supply chain that will be politically required to govern and plan it from top to bottom including all its components because of the fragmentation that exists today is dispersed. Italian women’s football can only attempt to emerge definitively if it is considered a block.

What hurt you the most during your career as a footballer and is still present on football fields today?
Many things. Difficult to arrange. The heavy side is the repetition.

She was the first female commentator in history to commentate on a men’s national soccer final. Another battle for gender equality has been won. What prejudices did you have to fight?
They wrote me a grudge regarding the typical personal aspects of a woman trying to assert herself and claimed someone suggested to me at the cashier (the little microphone that presenters wear in their ears, so they are in contact with the director who has the job of instructing them) during matches. The various licenses obtained at Coverciano began to open the eyes of those on the field who were experiencing first-hand my experience as a soccer player, so gradually some resistance diminished.

From July 20 to August 20, the FIFA Women’s World Championship will be held in Australia and New Zealand. The Azzurri will play their first group match on July 24 in Auckland against Argentina, and then meet Sweden and South Africa. Do we have a chance to repeat the 2019 thriller in France that had millions of fans cheering in front of the TV?
I hope so! But realistically, I fear that the media success in France 2019 will not be repeated. There are a series of positive factors, missing today, that finally contributed to bringing him to the fore. Italy will face the event with a renewed squad, and above all it will be a transitional World Cup useful for sporting growth.

Americans are world champions. Why does women’s soccer have such a large following of practitioners and fans in the USA?
Because gender equality began in 1972 with the will of President Richard Nixon who signed the Education Amendments. Title IX established the obligation to respect gender equality in federally funded educational programs. Thus the popular high school and college athletics programs, hitherto almost exclusively for men, were also opened up to girls’ participation. It’s been more than 50 years, and certainly a long time for the discipline to develop

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