If you’re going to dream, why not dream big? At least that appears to be the mindset of Colombia’s 17-year-old starlet Yoreli Rincon who, ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™, has already set her sights on snatching Marta’s FIFA Women’s World Player crown.
“She’s nearly ten years older than me and won the award for the first time at the age of 20. I’m 17 right now so I’ve still got a bit of time left. That’s my goal, I want to win it at an earlier age than she did,” the clearly confident youngster tells FIFA.com. And on the evidence of her short but highly promising career so far, she has the potential to go a very long way indeed.
The fulcrum of the Colombia side that stormed to fourth place at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010, the youngster’s stunning strike in the 2-0 quarter-final victory over Sweden was later voted the tournament’s finest by users of FIFA.com. “This girl can really play football. She’s got exceptional ability,” says Colombia coach Ricardo Rozo of his No10, a key part of Las Chicas Superpoderosas’ attacking armoury in their charge to second spot at 2010’s Copa America Femenina.
With that runners-up finish came their passage to Germany 2011 and the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament at London 2012, and Rincon is keen to focus on the positives to be drawn from that continental competition in Ecuador. “I had a good tournament, I scored goals and I felt very comfortable in spite of my age. If things are going well for me now and I’ve got so much of my career ahead of me, why shouldn’t I dream of one day being the best in the world?” continues a player who seems very aware of the steps required to achieve that goal.
“Marta is a quick and very intelligent player. We’re similar in that way: we know when to up the tempo and when to slow things down,” says Rincon. “But I’m even more interested in how she carries herself off the pitch and how she stays focused: I read a lot about her. She’s the best player in the world but I want to be that too. That’s why I need to know what things she does so I can incorporate them into my game as well.”
Rapid rise to the top
Yoreli Rincon’s story is similar to that of many other football-mad young girls across South America. When just a child in her native Bucaramanga, her older brother used to show her videos packed with the finest tricks of the likes of Luis Figo, David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane. “I think he wanted to live his frustrated dream of being a footballer through me,” she says with a grin.
Whatever the reason, Rincon assiduously took to the task of learning all her idols’ moves inside out, honing her skills on the street until the age of eight, when she joined a club in a local junior boys league. “I was the best out of all those lads, who I played with for five years. Then I made the switch to women’s football and took to it very easily. That’s when I realised how much potential I had. I then kept rising through the ranks until reaching the Colombian national side.”
Quick, intelligent and an excellent finisher, the Colombian would appear to have all the ingredients required to repeat last year’s standout performances on German soil. “We’re preparing with winning the gold medal in mind, and that’s what we dream of doing,” says Rincon as the interview drew to a close, when quizzed on Las Chicas Superpoderosas’ aims for Germany 2011.
“We’ve put our trust in the Lord and we believe he’ll look out for us at this competition. It’d be great to come up against Brazil and Marta in the title decider. If we won it’d help strengthen women’s football in Colombia, and on an individual note it’d give me a push towards winning the Women’s World Player award.”