• At 18 years of age, Castellanos is already one of the best players in the world
  • Nominated for The Best FIFA Women's Player, she has starred at successive U-17 World Cups
  • She told us all about her dream to play at France 2019 with Venezuela

As the world of football counts down to the reveal of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 official emblem and slogan – in Paris on 19 September – we are interviewing major figures from the women’s game about the history, the present and the future of the Women’s World Cup.

At only 14 years of age, she starred at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014, where she shared the Golden Boot with her compatriot Gabriela Garcia. She was at it again two years later at the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan, where she claimed the Bronze Boot and the Bronze Ball, was voted as the scorer of the tournament’s finest goal, and cemented her status as indisputable leader of a Venezuela side that finished in fourth place.

A thousand thanks to everyone who voted for my goal as the best of the World Cup - thanks to all of you who made this dream come true.❤

Deyna Castellanos is fully aware that her career is moving at the speed of light: “I’m climbing the stairs 500 steps at a time!” she exclaimed, laughing. At only 18 years of age, she is also the youngest candidate to make the shortlist for The Best FIFA Women's Player.

While it would be a dream to be named the best player in the world, Castellanos explained to FIFA.com that she has other challenges on her mind. And for the time being, her sights are firmly fixed on France. Not only will the U-20 Women’s World Cup be played there next year, but the country will soon become the epicentre of the women’s game when it hosts the senior World Cup in 2019.

A World Cup at every level
“My idea is to be able to play at a World Cup at every level, and to experience what that feels like. We’re already working hard and holding training camps to fine tune our team. We’re focused on France, not just for the U-20 tournament but also with half an eye on the senior team.”

An unbeatable host
“Right now, France is the place to be. It’s where women’s football is played at its highest level. I managed to watch the last Champions League final between Olympique de Lyon and PSG. To be honest, I wanted PSG to win because one of my friends, Shirley Cruz, plays there. But it was a really good match, and went all the way to penalties. I really enjoyed it. Lyon and PSG are both great teams and the French league is going from strength to strength.”

A chance to make history
“Achieving qualification to the senior World Cup finals for the first time with Venezuela [Editors’s Note: Venezuela’s men’s side have also never appeared at a senior World Cup finals] is a huge motivation, and the senior side that we’ve got coming together is really good. There are the more experienced players, then those that have just made the step up from the U-20s and who were my team-mates in Costa Rica (and who appeared at Papua New Guinea 2016), and then those who – like me – have moved up from the U-17s to the U-20s. We have to work together, because this is a significant group of players and one that’s going to bring much happiness to the country.”

The perfect showcase
“Playing at that senior World Cup would be a huge opportunity to test ourselves and to use the tournament as a way to get noticed by professional clubs. My plan is to finish my studies at university and then to make the move to Europe, and the World Cup in France is going to be a shop window not just for me, but for all my team-mates.”

The road to France 2019

  • La Vinotinto will compete for qualification at the Copa America 2018.
  • The tournament will be held in Chile from 4 to 22 April. The two finalists will qualify automatically for France 2019.
  • The team that finishes third in South America will decide their World Cup fate in a play-off against the fourth-placed team from the CONCACAF region.
  • Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador represented South America at Canada 2015.