Now 26, Christiane Endler is one of the finest goalkeepers on the women’s international scene. Ten years on from making her breakthrough in keeping goal for the host nation at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile 2008, she is excelling for her senior national team and her club side, Paris Saint-Germain.
“It’s very satisfying to be in such a competitive and professional league, but it also means I have to be responsible and dedicated,” she explained. “It was hard for me to adapt to begin with. Getting a start was tough but I feel really good now. There’s no margin for error here. If you let your standards slip, then you’re on the bench. But I love the responsibility and it’s made me improve as a player.”
Endler wants that improvement in her game to also be reflected in her performances with Chile: “My dream is to play at the senior World Cup and the Olympic Games. I hope my chance to start fulfilling those dreams will come in France.”
Jose Letelier’s Roja side will bid to claim their place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ when they contest the upcoming Copa America Feminina, a tournament that doubles up as the South American qualifiers for the world finals.
“We’ve been working pretty much non-stop for nearly a year now and we’ve prepared really well,” said Endler. “We’re heading into the Copa America in the best possible shape. And it’s going to be crucial for us to be playing at home. We’ll be playing at good stadiums with top facilities, and we’re going to have the support of the fans too. Rather than putting pressure on us, that’s going to give us a lot of support.”
Copa America Femenina Chile 2018 , 4-22 April
- Host cities: Coquimbo, La Serena and Ovalle
- Qualifying competition for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2016, the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 and the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.
Endler on La Roja
“We’ve got our own style of play. We move the ball around a lot and try to bring the ball out as a team. We’ve got some very talented players, with a lot of skill. We’re a very organised team. We can feel the benefit of the work we’ve done in the last few months, with a coach who’s got his ideas very clear in his mind and who achieved a lot with Colo Colo. We’ve known him for a while now and that’s been crucial for us. He’s been able to get his ideas across to us very clearly.”
Five things you didn’t know about Tiane:
- Her role models: Iker Casillas, Oliver Kahn, Gianluigi Buffon, Claudio Bravo and Manuel Neuer
- Named Chilean Player of the Year on five occasions: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2017.
- Clubs: Club Union la Calera (CHI), Everton (CHI), Colo Colo (CHI), University of South Florida (USA), Chelsea Ladies (ENG), Colo Colo (CHI) and Valencia (ESP)
- Titles: five times a Chilean league champion with Colo Colo, and a Copa Libertadores winner in 2012.
- Conceded fewer goals than any other keeper in the Spanish Iberdrola League in the 2016/17 season (nine goals in 23 matches).
Chile 2008 played a big part in Endler’s decision to devote herself to football: “It was crucial. Before that championship I’d never imagined that I could play the game professionally, but it was thanks to that tournament that I realised there was a whole different world out there, that women’s football was growing outside Chile.”
Ten years on she feels more mature, more rounded and very proud too: “I’m proud to have got to where I am today, at one of the best clubs in the world. It’s not easy to come from a country like Chile, where women’s football is not given the importance it deserves. It’s all been down to hard work and perseverance, though I’ve really got my rewards from it.”
Did you know?
- Like most players, Endler started out as a forward in her younger years, though she would go in goal when playing with her brother at home.
- She was 15 when she had a trial in goal with the national team. Her size (Endler is 5’11 (1.80m) tall) and skill between the posts led to her being advised to change positions.
- In her youth she played tennis, basketball and volleyball and also swam.