TIJUANA, MEXICO (Dec. 16, 2016) - The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) is opening a new chapter in its history today, with the inclusion of the first female player to participate in the competition. Mexican National Team attacker, Carolina Jaramillo (har-ah-MEE-yo), is one of the the new faces of the MASL and on Sunday, she will make her debut for Atletico Baja.
Jaramillo is not new to arena soccer, she has competed in the Mexican variant,
futbol rápido, since 2003. She started playing alongside boys but, after winning a couple of national titles in 2005 and 2006, she started playing soccer at the highest levels.
She is now part of the Club Tijuana Xolos' Women's team that will play their inaugural season of the Women's Liga MX starting in September of 2017.
The forward has played with the Mexican National Team at the U17 and U20 level, including a participation in the U20 World Cup in Canada. In January 2016, she became only the second Mexican woman to be named to the NSCAA All-America team. She currently attends Cerritos College in California.
"It's a challenge, I know I will get comments from people saying it's not right to others supporting me, but for me it's a challenge.," said Jaramillo. "Men have a different way of playing, and I think I'm more in sync with them on the field, I will give my best to defend Atletico Baja's shirt."
Accompanied by her coach at Xolos, Mar Ibarra, and Baja's club president Ramón Quezada, Jaramillo was presented to the local media today. Xolos and Baja have partnered together to enable Jaramillo to gain valuable experience before the new Women's Liga MX begins.
MASL Commissioner Joshua Schaub said, "It's an exciting day for not only the MASL, but professional sports as a whole. There are historical barriers that have yet to be hurdled for women around the world, today, one of those barriers has again fallen. The MASL looks forward to Carolina's participation and ultimate successes."
Jaramillo is the first woman in the MASL, but she is the fourth to play professional indoor soccer. In 1994 Collete Cunninghan and Shannon Presley played for the CISL's Washington Warthogs, then the following year U.S. Women's National Team star Kristine Lilly made her debut for the Warthogs. Most recently, Lindsay Kennedy signed and played one game for the St. Louis Steamers during the 2004-2005 season.
However, she will be writing history with Atletico Baja as the first female player to participate alongside men in any professional league in Mexico.
Jaramillo and Atletico Baja, will host the El Paso Coyotes on Sunday December 18th at 5:05 p.m. PST. Along with every MASL game this season, you can see her debut live on MASLtv, the league's new YouTube channel.
The MASL was formed in 2014 by teams from the Professional Arena Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League. The league represents the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world, and features teams across North America, with teams playing coast-to-coast in the United States and Mexico.