Woman poses as man to advocate for women's soccer

Spanish pop-science TV show "El Hormiguero" ("The Anthill") raised awareness about women's soccer last week when it disguised a Spanish women's league player, Brenda Perez, as a man and put her on the pitch against a men's team as Dani Perez.

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

A former women's La Liga player disguised herself as a man to raise awareness about the women's game.

After scoring a goal, and just before she was about to take a penalty kick, Perez removed her disguise.

"Women's soccer is totally ignored, while men's soccer is constantly in the media. We wanted to make a point with this video," said Jordi Molto, a scriptwriter on "El Hormiguero." "Some people still insist that women are not strong enough to compete with men, but the right technique can put them on an equal footing."

The referee and the coach of the side Perez was playing for were the only ones on the field who knew about the TV stunt.

The 21-year-old journalism student, who has played for Atletico Madrid and Espanyol's women's sides, was fitted with padding to camouflage the shape of her body, and was given a new hairstyle with makeup and a facial prosthesis.

Brenda later said that some players were puzzled by her appearance.

"I heard a couple of guys tell their teammates that my beard was coming off," she said.

In the videotape of the match, others can be heard saying: "I told you she had a girl's face."

"She looked like a young man of say, 20 years old. We were a bit worried about using a player that nobody on the side knew, but as this is the beginning of the season, it's not unusual for new players to be tried out," Molto said.

The show's organizers opted for a low-level match to test Perez's skills

"Against a really good side her chances of touching the ball were not good. The important thing here is to make the point that women can provide soccer that is just as entertaining as men's, and that appearances can be deceptive," Molto said.

In her final video message, Perez stressed that soccer is not just a man's game.

The Spanish Football League last month announced it was to spend at least €1 million on women's soccer infrastructure, according to a report in El Pais.

Related Content