It wasn’t supposed to end this way. When the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to the Women’s Segunda South Division, Villarreal was one place in the standings outside of a playoff position. There was a lot of work to do in order to overcome Albacete in third, but our team had enough talent that you believed we had a chance.
Then everything in the second tier was canceled. With Villarreal confirmed to at least one more year in the second tier, it came time for players and coaches to decide whether they would continue at the club.
Things will look a lot different, as nine different players won’t be back next season. Notable among them are Jessi Collado who is retiring after 17 years with the club, Maria Ortells who retires after 9 years, and budding superstar Aixa Salvador who will almost certainly find a Primera contract waiting for her this season. Given the financial realities of the women’s game, certainly no one can blame Salvador for taking an opportunity for a Primera contract, but I can’t help but think that if we had been able to see this season out and gain promotion, perhaps she would have stayed.
The first new signing for the women’s team this season is midfielder María Cienfuegos. Cienfu is 19 years old and a product of the Real Oviedo academy.
I am certain we will see more signings in the weeks to come and I am confident that our women’s side is on the right path to get themselves promoted, but we have at least one more year to wait for Women’s Primera Division football.