Chilean superstar praises football quality in Australia

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New Adelaide United forward and Chilean international Maria Jose Rojas believes Australia is one of the best countries to play the women’s game.

Rojas, affectionally known as ‘Cote’, has played football in several countries but considers Australia her second home. 

Cote dreamed of being a professional footballer despite limited opportunities in her home country of Chile. 

“We didn’t have programs (in Chile), we didn’t have soccer fields” said Jojas.

“We grew up in small spaces like streets and I think that helps you a lot, it makes you strong and resilient.”

Although the Chilean forward did not have access to the equipment or facilities many Australians are fortunate enough to have, Cote received her first opportunity at professional level when a W-League representative contacted her manager. 

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“In college around 2012-13, I was playing at UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio) and I got my first offer from my manager to play W-League. I wasn’t told what team it was because I was in college and they didn’t let me quit so I could come to play. 

“I couldn’t quit at all, so I finished my degree and that’s how I got my first professional contract in Germany” Cote explained.

“I always had that desire to come here (Australia) because I couldn’t take up that first opportunity.” 

In 2018, Cote got her opportunity to play W-League football when she was awarded a distinguished talent visa from the Australian Government. After receiving her visa, the internationally capped forward went on to sign with Canberra United. 

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“When I got the offer to play in Canberra I accepted it immediately. For me, Australia has a physical style of football but allowed me to be creative too. I didn’t need a lot of convincing to play here.”

Cote loved playing football in the W-League so much she decided to come back for a second stint with Adelaide United this season. She also spoke highly of the way we promote women’s football in Australia. 

“To see the development and the programs the federation (FA) has in every single state, and to see the young players coming up and having the opportunity to play in a professional league, that’s what they are doing well.”

Although she heaped praise on women’s football in Australia, Cote also discussed how it could be developed further in the land down under. 

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“I would love to play W-League across the whole year instead of just a couple of months. It’s important but it should come with time because if you are creating programs to develop players, then they need the platform to perform and show their skills.

“You see the Matildas doing so well and that’s because they develop their young players and give them the opportunity to play.” 

With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup set to take place in Australia and New Zealand, Australian women’s football fans have a lot to be excited about in the coming years – just ask Maria Jose Rojas.

 

Feature image credit: Jordan Trombetta, Adelaide United

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Amir Daou
Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Activity and Bachelor of Media and Communications student at Flinders University. Writing intern covering the latest in Adelaide United news and matches. Sport is my passion and I'm excited to learn more about the industry during my time with The Football Sack.