Inspirational Ramirez ready for next roller coaster   

  • Colombia's diminutive midfielder Sharon Ramirez impressed in opener

  • Looking ahead to meeting Spain following unlucky 3-0 defeat against Canada

  • The inspirational midfielder drew high praise from her team-mates

Sharon Ramirez was afraid of roller coasters when she was 14, but has since managed to conquer her fear. How? "By getting on one," she said. "It was difficult the first time but I went back and rode it another six times or so. It's a question of inner strength. You have to face up to your fears to get over them."

In this interview with, it becomes clear that the Colombian central midfielder adopts that same philosophy out on the pitch. Standing at just 4'9 (1.49m), she is accustomed to going up against much taller players but nevertheless scores, marks her opponents and is always available to receive the ball and play a pass.

"It's a bit scary at the start too, but you work out a way to get the ball off them," Ramirez said. "The key is to play intelligently." However, Colombia's opening fixture at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018 did not pan out as planned, ending in a painful 3-0 defeat against Canada.

"You need to take your chances in matches like these," Ramirez said after emerging from the changing room at the Estadio Charrua after the final whistle. "They did that and we didn't. We lacked a little bit of luck with two shots that hit the post, but that's just the way football is."

The reverse is a setback for Colombia, particularly given that their next opponents are European champions Spain, who underlined their title credentials with a convincing win over Korea Republic in their first outing at the tournament.

Ramirez, characteristically, is not shying away from the challenge, however: "We can't let our heads hang after this defeat. We have to move on and think about Spain. It doesn't matter that they won; we want to win this match."

The lowdown on Sharon Ramirez

  • Born in Bogota 17 years ago

  • Played in the inaugural season of the Colombian Professional Women's Football League in 2017

  • Participated at the 2017 Bolivarian Games and the South American U-17 and U-20 Championships in 2018 with Colombia

The words "She's small but she's got great technique and she's outstanding in midfield. She doesn't care if the opponent is bigger or smaller than her; she always goes full throttle. Her agility gives her an advantage against taller players and it's difficult to mark her because she's constantly on the move. And if she needs to make a tackle, she tackles." Andrea Perez, centre-back.

"Even though she's small, she's a machine who gives everything for the team. She's got a trick of feigning to go one way and accelerating in the other that is very difficult to stop. She's very strong and isn't afraid to confront you, regardless of how big you are." Kelly Caicedo, centre-back.

Did you know? Ramirez started playing football when she was 11. "I would watch 'Supercampeones' (a popular Japanese TV manga series about football) with my big brother and then we'd go and kick a ball around in the basement," she said. "They were incredible one-against-ones. He hit me hard but he taught me how to play football."