Have you read Lucia Garcia’s powerful piece?

Friday 15 December 2023 14:07

Manchester United Women forward Lucia Garcia has shared the fascinating story of her footballing journey so far via The Players’ Tribune website.

In the first-person piece, Lucia wholeheartedly opens up about being one of the 15 players who refused to play for Spain last year, due to concerns over the level of professionalism in the set-up.

Her honesty and insight are compelling, making the long article a must-read for United fans. 

Garcia goes into detail on a number of topics, including how she dealt with not being a part of her country’s World Cup-winning squad.

You can read the full article on The Players' Tribune website here, and sample its brilliance by scrolling through the standout quotes below.

Garcia joined United in July 2022 and scored her 11th Reds goal in Thursday's win against Leicester.

‘I stood up for our rights. This is my story’ is the title of the piece, and Lucia begins by sharing her experience of being one of the players to withdraw her services from the Spanish Football Federation via email, in September 2022.

While a number of her compatriots involved in the protest later returned to the squad and won the World Cup last summer, Lucia was not selected and could only watch the tournament from afar.

“In my head, I had stood up for what was right,” she says. “But I remember everyone telling me that I was an absolute idiot. ‘You ruined your career.’ ‘God, how stupid you are!’

“These people were not haters and internet trolls. They knew me, and they said that I had to look out for myself. 

“I hate to admit it, but they were right. That is one of the lessons I’ve learnt from all of this: no one will put their hand in the fire for you.”

As you can probably imagine, it was difficult for Lucia to process missing out on the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and she discusses the impact that it had on her at the time, as her country went all the way to the final and won it.

“As painful as it is to say, I actually handled my own disappointment well. I learned to value my club even more,” Garcia writes.

“When the World Cup came around, I didn’t check the schedule. I swear to you, I only caught parts of the final, and that was because they put it up on a screen in my gym. 

“Of course, it was so bittersweet. I was happy for my team-mates, but I was also upset because I was missing out. I did not send that email to cause problems. I sent it because I wanted to win. I sent it for the next generation of girls coming up after us. 

“So yeah, I’m not gonna pretend that it didn’t hurt. When your team-mates are turning into legends in front of your eyes, and you’re sitting there alone doing shoulder presses, it sucks.”
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In the piece, Lucia also takes us back to her early beginnings – growing up as a quadruplet in a non-footballing family, from the northern Spanish village of Pola del Pino.

The 25-year-old recalls a brilliant story from a trial she had at Oviedo aged 13, which illustrates the remarkable rise that she has had over a short space of time.

“When I was 13, I had a trial at Oviedo, nearly two hours away by bus on the old highway. I wanted to show how good a striker I was, and it seemed like fortune was on my side, because after just a few minutes I made this great run off the ball … and nobody was following me. 

“I couldn’t believe my luck. It was weird... but it was a hell of a run! I was like: ‘HEY! HEY! I’M ALONE! GIMME THE BALL!!!!’

“Nobody else moved. They stopped the game. I was like: ‘What are they doing??’

“And then someone shouted a word that I had never ever heard in my life. ‘Lucía … you’re offside … BY 30 YARDS!’

“Hahahahahaha. I had only played football during school breaks, plus one year of futsal. The players must have been like: ‘Where the hell did they find her?’

“What can I say? In Pola del Pino, we don’t do offside.”

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The United forward was recalled by her national team for the first time after the World Cup, in September. Despite initially holding out until further changes were made within her country's federation, Lucia and co were obliged to report for the camp.

“We arrived at the airport in Valencia, and I’ve never seen so many cameras in my life,” the United forward recalls. “Our hotel was surrounded by a million people. We had meetings until three in the morning with coaches, officials and the government. 

“That was when the federation promised that they would make clear changes once and for all. Since then, we have played six games. I’m relieved to say that things are beginning to improve. They have kept their word. 

“I have also learned that there are some things you cannot put a price on. Your well-being. Your self-worth. Your duty to the next generation of girls. That is what we stood up for.”

You can read Lucia’s full article on The Players’ Tribune website here.