The Spanish women’s international team have temporarily reassigned from international play unless head coach, Vilda, is dismissed for negatively impacting the emotional and mental health of the players. And while the exact reason behind their withdrawal is unknown, team Captains said they had simply “transmitted the feelings of the players” and that there had been “false leaks.”
This comes as part of a trend over the last few years of more athletes, and sports teams standing up for their mental health and emotional well-being. High-level sport is a pressure cooker of emotion – one that is constantly boiling and waiting to boil over. Athletes not only need a resilient mindset, but a good team around them to support them mentally, emotionally, and physically.
But how did the events transpire?
On Thursday evening, fifteen players sent letters to the federation informing them of the situation and the effect it’s having on their mental and emotional states. Players wrote, “I do not currently consider myself to be in a condition to be chosen for the national team, and I ask not to be called up until the situation is resolved.”
The team is looking for internal changes to be made. One of the players and team captain, Jennifer Hermoso, mentioned how “We are defending our team. We transmit a message of general discomfort, each one is consistent in what she does. But when the player enters the field of play, nothing else is thought of.”
The Spaniards are defending their team and players, but what do the Spanish football association have to say about the situation?
What did the Spanish football association have to say?
The Spanish Football association said it “will only have committed footballers.” They mentioned how youth players would be fielded if needed, and labelled the idea of pressuring the coaching team, and the general behaviour of the team, to be “far from exemplary…”
Is this the right approach from the association and from the coaching squad? We don’t know the full story so we can’t make a conclusion. But we know one thing for certain: the mental and emotional health of the players should be the top priority. That’s a non-negotiable.
Matthew Mace is an avid cyclist, runner, and freelance content writer with a keen interest in psychology and injury. He studied sport and exercise at Durham University and now writes about cycling, wellness and mental fitness.