“Had to Play With Boys” – Maria Sanchez Reflects on Struggles Before Playing Club Soccer

Published 12/19/2023, 10:51 PM EST

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Women’s soccer in the US is changing for the good. The new $240 million broadcast deal points to the newfound popularity of the women’s game. The key contributor is the fact that there are some pretty good players, like Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, and Maria Sanchez. The journey to fame for these stars hasn’t been easy. Maria Sanchez recently narrated an interesting story about her development as a soccer player. A story that illustrates the importance of mental resilience and self-belief.

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The Mexican international started her senior career with Chicago Red Stars in 2019. Her talent was on display from the beginning and her current coach even described her as ‘magic’. However, as per Maria’s words, her journey wasn’t a magical affair.

Maria Sanchez describes how her brother helped her independent game grow

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In a recent interview, it came to light that the Houston Dash star did not play club soccer owing to financial restrictions. Yet, how did she become one of NWSL’s finest? Sanchez explained, “I have to play with boys growing up. I have a brother that’s six years older than me and I would play soccer with him all the time until he moved out for college.” However, this was quite a struggle for the Mexican International. She revealed, “My parents didn’t really want me to play with boys, um, so most of the time I would have to play by myself.”

The NWSL star also highlighted how winters forced her to adapt. Sanchez said, “There’s Idaho Winters where you really can’t play soccer outside, so I’d either have to break into this Middle School gym uh that’s right in front of my house as well as the soccer field.” It seems the star is appreciative of these struggles that made her the player that she is today.

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With 4 goals and 4 assists this season, the 27-year-old is again proving to be the orchestrator of Houston’s attacking plays. No wonder Houston Dash rewarded the player with a significantly improved contract, in fact, a record-breaking one!

The highest-paid player in the NWSL

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The attacker recently signed a 3-year contract with an option to extend for a further year. The news attracted a lot of attention due to the finances involved. As per reports, the contract is worth $1.5 million in total, the biggest contract in NWSL history surpassing Trinity Rodman’s deal worth $1.1 million with Washington Spirit.

Interestingly, Sanchez was available as a free agent for a brief time before her contract extension. Unfortunately, the other NWSL clubs couldn’t pounce on the opportunity, and the Mexican international reaffirmed her commitment to Houston Dash. Even despite the ownership change at the club, the board recognized the importance of their left-footed superstar.

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Can Maria Sanchez inspire Houston Dash to NWSL glory? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Adithya Narayanan

360Articles

One take at a time

Soccer was the first sport I played in my life. It turned out to be my favorite one by an absolute mile. In my younger days, I became a Liverpool fan but it was only when Jurgen Klopp arrived that my passion for the game intensified.
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Edited by:

Daniel D'Cruz

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