In my PhD project, I work with female soccer players from São Paulo. I analyze these women’s training and professionalization, taking into consideration issues of gender, race, and sexuality. In 2013 and 2014, I conducted an ethnographic research with two soccer teams, one from downtown and other from the outskirts of the city. The players whom I worked with were black women aged between 14 to 25 years old, usually from financially disadvantaged families, and mostly lesbians (who do not define themselves as such, and regard sex among women as a phase in life). Brazil is not a very receptive country for women athletes, especially soccer players. Young athletes face many difficulties to start and to continue their professional careers. There are several homophobic and sexist discourses, which undermine and delegitimize the space occupied by these women. Still, despite the adversities, many of them get to join the Brazil women’s national football team. Other even acquire some visibility in sports and are invited to play in foreign teams, for example, from the United States and Canada.
Mariane Pisani was a visitor in the GLOBALSPORT project from July to December 2016.