Noe takes the fast track to futsal history

  • Noelia de las Heras scored first futsal goal in Olympic history

  • At 16, she is the second-youngest player in the Spain squad

  • "Our objective is to reach the final and win it"

When Noelia de las Heras was asked to try her hand at track and field earlier in her young life, she showed she had a decent turn of speed and could also throw a javelin. Yet her sporting passion lay elsewhere – in futsal to be exact. And it was that passion that won out. It has brought her to Buenos Aires, where, on Sunday 7 October 2018, she secured a place in sporting history by scoring the first ever goal in the discipline’s Olympic history, which was also the first in a FIFA women’s futsal tournament.

“I am very happy and proud to have scored that goal,” a smiling Noe told immediately after having contributed not one but four of Spain’s goals in their 9-2 defeat of Bolivia on the opening day of the Women’s Youth Olympic Futsal Tournaments Buenos Aires 2018.

The 16-year-old is in the second year of her senior high school studies in her hometown of Guadalajara, and is the second-youngest member of the Spain squad. Her brush with athletics came four years ago. “I went to give it a try, but futsal was always my thing,” she said in a clear voice.

The long-legged Noe did not take long to show her ability on the ball in the school playground, but it was not until she accompanied her brother to one of his team’s training sessions and began kicking a ball around on her own that she was spotted by a coach, who gave her the chance to play.

“I played with the boys to begin with but then I had to stop doing that [mixed teams are permitted in Spain up to the age of 12] and start playing for a girls’ side,” explained Noe.

She joined CD Chiloeches and quickly graduated to the club’s senior team, which plays in Spain’s second division. Those that know her say that although her team-mates are several years older, she is already displaying leadership qualities.

That professional approach can be glimpsed in how Noe handles the media. This is a girl who has come to enjoy the Olympic Village experience and make the most of the wonderful opportunity to meet with hundreds of youngsters of all cultures and creeds, though her main reason for coming to Buenos Aires is to claim a gold medal.

“It’s a fantastic experience but our objective is to win every match, gain in confidence and reach the final and win it.”