Mexico's Flores excelling at universal language of football

  • speaks with Mexico midfielder Silvana Flores

  • She was born in Canada and lives in England

  • "We’ve formed a family, and that shows out on the pitch"

“Let’s do the interview in Spanish,” said Silvana Flores to “I play for Mexico, and I’m in the U-17 World Cup final!”

Flores, the daughter of a Mexican ex-footballer, speaks Spanish clearly and fluently, but she has a distinct accent, the result of spending 14 years growing up in Canada, the country of her birth and her mother’s homeland. She subsequently moved to England, where she currently resides.

Along this intriguing path, the central midfielder got the opportunity to train with the youth teams of Canada, Cayman Islands and England, before nailing her colours to the Mexican mast.

“My dad is a professional coach, and he was put in charge of the Cayman Islands’ U-15 girls' side. I was 11-years-old, and as there weren’t very many girls who played football on the island, I would attend the sessions and train with them,” explained the gifted No18.

She soon appeared on the radar of Canada’s U-15s; indeed, she rubbed shoulders with several of the players who lost the semi-final to Mexico at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018 on Wednesday. “There’s no doubt that it was a bit of a special match for me,” she admitted.

Silvana Flores in Uruguay

  • Matches: 5 (all as a starter)

  • Minutes: 418 (seventh highest in the squad)

  • Average: 83 minutes 6 seconds per match

Her family’s move to Ipswich gave her the chance to train with some of England's youth teams, although she was not eligible for a call-up. Around this time, the opportunity of a trial with Mexico arose, and everything began to fall into place for the midfielder.

“I always felt like there was something missing in other places, and I found it in Mexico,” said Flores, who missed out on part of 2017, as well as the 2018 CONCACAF Women's U-17 Championship, with a knee injury. “I like their style of play, but also the passion they have for life.”

Since being brought into El Tri’s U-17 set-up in September of this year, she has experienced nothing but happiness. “I became friends with the girls right from the outset,” she said. “We’ve formed a family, and that shows out on the pitch: when someone’s under pressure, one of us goes over to help out. When someone falls, the same thing happens. We’re all pushing in the same direction.”

Flores knows that Mexico are going to need that level of teamwork – and more – if they are to defeat Spain on Saturday and claim the first-ever women’s football title in the country’s history.

“We played them in a friendly before this tournament and we only lost 2-1. And both of their goals stemmed from our own mistakes. It was a hard-fought match; possession and chances were pretty even. That’s why I think a win is not beyond us,” she concluded confidently.

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY - NOVEMBER 28: Andersen Williams of Canada defends Silvana Flores of Mexico during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018 semi-final match between Mexico and Canada at Estadio Charrua on November 28, 2018 in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

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  • Her club: “I play in Arsenal’s U-21 women’s team in England. I hope to break into the senior side soon.”

  • Football family: “My younger brother and sister also play football, and they’re both really good. Like me, they want to represent Mexico.”

  • Away from sport: “I play the piano quite well, I speak three languages – English, Spanish and French – and I love to read, especially science fiction and fantasy.”

  • Mexico’s impact on her life: “I travel to Mexico quite often because I have grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins there. I like everything about Mexican culture, especially the music and the food. I particularly love quesadillas, frijoladas and chilaquiles.”