Marta Pérez plays for Betis in Spain’s Premiere Division and combines sport with an academic education.
Marta doesn’t exactly remember when she started playing football. “All I remember is that ever since my first steps, I always had a ball at my feet”. When she wasn’t at one of her brother’s matches, watching him play, she was playing herself. Even when she was at home, so long as friends or family were around. That was until the first teams she would play for came into her life: Salesianos, Sevilla FC, Málaga CF, Sporting Club de Huelva… All on her way to Real Betis Balompié where Marta Pérez San Martín (Algeciras, 1994) is currently in her fourth season with them.
Question.- What position do you play?
Answer.- I remember playing as a forward when I was younger. When I was about thirteen I started playing as midfielder and that’s how it’s been ever since.
Q.- Is being a female footballer complicated?
A.- It hasn’t for me. I’ve been very lucky in that my parents have always been very supportive. You can’t deny the fact that there is a certain degree of prejudice concerning women’s football but I’ve always had supportive friends and colleagues. I’ve never had any problems. In fact, I can remember always being one of the first to be picked at school because everyone wanted me in their team.
Q.- Do you think Spain is a good country for a girl wanting to dedicate herself to football?
A.- Women’s football has come a long way here, but there’s still quite a bit more to go for women to be able to consider football as their full time career path. For the moment, playing in a first division team earns you enough to get by. For someone looking to dedicate themselves exclusively to playing football professionally and making a living, you’d have to try your luck abroad.
Q.- What’s holding women’s football back from taking off here in Spain?
A.- Broadcasting more and more matches would be a start. Also, that bigger clubs keep pushing for and supporting their women’s teams.
Q.- Have the national or regional teams shown any interest in you?
A.- I’ve been playing for the Andalusian Federation team in every age category from under-14s up to the under-18s team. I was also called in for the under-16s and ‘-17s Spanish National Team with which I played a phase of a European Championship.
Q.- You were 12 when you first came to Marcet. Any memories?
A.- All I did at home was play football so as a prize for my grades, my parents gave me one of your intensive courses. It was a beautiful experience. At Marcet I had everything I could ever need or want to enjoy football. I learned a lot and the truth is it was one of my first experiences far from home. I came here with a group of friends and I had a great time.
Q.- Now you’re in the Premiere Division, what’s your day to day like?
A.- I study in the morning and train in the afternoon. Right now, I’m finishing my ‘Técnico Superior en Animación y Actividades Físicas y Deportivas (TSAAFD)’ (Higher Level Superior Technician in Animation and Sporting and Physical Activities), so at the moment I spend my mornings on work experience. When I can, I study and get working on my final project.
Q.- What’s your next objective?
A.- My goal is to keep giving it the best I can. This year I really want to get in the Copa de la Reina (Queen’s Cup). Hopefully one day we’ll win something big with Betis. I wouldn’t mind a call from the national team either!.