Amanda Sampedro Joins Common Goal
Atletico Madrid captain latest to join movement
As a young girl kicking a ball around a dirt pitch new Common Goal member Amanda Sampedro used to imagine she was Atlético de Madrid legend Fernando Torres walking out to the roars of the Vicente Calderón Stadium.
The Atlético skipper was a season ticket holder from a young age but had never seen any women take to the hallowed ground – fast forward a decade and Sampedro now has a plaque at the club’s Paseo de Leyendas (Legends’ Walkway).
No small feat.
And, while the distance between the seats she and her family used to occupy to the pitch was small, for Sampedro the journey between those places was much larger.
“On an emotional level, playing in the Calderón, going out to the field and looking at the seats where I sat with my family watching the players, was amazing,” she said.
“Never did I think I’d see those seats from that point of view.”
Seeing those seats from the pitch is not something that Sampedro takes for granted, indeed even as the club challenges for a fourth consecutive league title, she makes sure to savour every game.
But more than that she hopes, after more than a decade of service to the club she loves, she and her generation of trailblazers and female role models have laid the foundations for the women’s game to continue its growth.
“Back then I didn’t have the luck that many girls have nowadays who, by being able to watch women’s football, have female role models,” she added.
“It was hard to actually visualize myself playing in stadiums like the Vicente Calderon and the Wanda Metropolitano, where I’d never seen any women play.
“The new generations have it slightly easier. They can follow a path that already exists and not have to find one.
“In sport, and in any area of life, if you want to get something and you can see the path, it’s much easier than starting from scratch. It’s definitely not easy, but it’s different. It’s also super positive.
“My role models were masculine, my perception of reality and what success looked like were different to now. Now a young girl can see this possibility exists.
“That gives us, as players, a much bigger responsibility. It is up to us to set an example for children to follow.”
Sampedro joins Common Goal on International Women’s Day and during this year’s She Believes Cup – no coincidence for the 26-year-old who is keen to help drive progress towards Global Goal 5 (Gender Equality).
That progress comes in the shape of Common Goal’s ‘Goal 5 Accelerator’ project that Sampedro has chosen to support.
The project kicks off in Uganda on March 10 and aims to accelerate gender equality at the core of the programmes of grassroots football organisations across the world.
“I love the idea of opening paths to others through football,” Sampedro added. “Helping women in certain countries, where they may not have the same opportunities and, through football, offer a new path to a better life.
“I lived through having to follow male references and looking for women because there were no visible female role models in football.
“I think the project I’m supporting is a way of allowing girls to see that it doesn't matter if you are male or female, that there is a way and if you fight and train hard you can get it, regardless of your gender.”