Whether it’s football or calcio - Italy has long been synonymous with the sport of soccer. While the men’s side has seen much success over the years, including 4 FIFA World Cup wins and a recent European Championship win, women’s soccer is still fighting its way into the mainstream of Italian life.
If you stopped an Italian on the streets of Italy, they would tell you with no hesitation where their club soccer allegiances align. Club soccer is a huge part of their lives but whether it’s their regional club team or one of the historic Serie A juggernauts like Inter Milan, Juventus, or AC Milan they’re almost exclusively speaking about the men’s side.
But for the last several years, Serie A Femminile has provided a pathway for women in the country to follow their own dreams of playing professionally - and this league is very much worth your time and your support. You too could soon find yourself shouting “dai!” (which loosely translates to “let’s go!”) at your television as you cheer on your new favorite Italian side.
As the league has slowly grown in popularity, so has it attracted some top talent into its ranks. The storied Juventus side boasts an impressive roster including Canadian international Julia Grosso, as well as a number of Italian national team players like Sara Gama, Cristiana Girelli, and Barbara Bonansea. Many of these players rose to fame during the Azzure’s historic 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup run where Italy unexpectedly made it to the quarterfinals, losing to the Netherlands.
Currently, last season’s champions Juventus lead in the 2021-2022 campaign with only a handful of games left to be played. Behind them sits Roma, AC Milan, Sassuolo, and Inter Milan. All these team names might sound familiar - and that’s because these clubs feature prominently as top teams on the men’s Serie A side, as well.
Even if you’re not familiar with the ins-and-outs of Italian soccer, even if you’re just a fan of the women’s game, Serie A Femminile is an exciting, growing league that has not yet reached its peak of popularity. It’s very much in its indie phase, so be an early adopter and get your bragging rights by becoming a fan before Serie A Femminile goes mainstream.
Still need convincing?
Just check out this goal by Roma’s Milica Mijatovic, a striker who also plays for the Serbian national team.
Or this one from Inter Milan’s Marta Pandini, a native of Milan who has received call-ups to Italy’s youth national teams:
Or this one from Pomigliano’s Tori DellaPeruta, an American who signed with the club out of high school and who will return to the states in the fall to play with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re ready to find your squadra del cuore.
It will come as no surprise that the Italian women’s league is difficult to watch domestically. While services like ata football pick up a good amount of the games, the production quality is often lacking - even if the bar for women’s professional soccer can be exceptionally low. Occasionally, the individual clubs will stream matches on their websites, so make sure to check social media channels for more information.
Longtime fans of the National Women’s Soccer League will understand this dilemma. Through years of terrible YouTube streams, a brief stint on Lifetime, and even now with its more permanent home with CBS and Paramount +, the production value often leaves something to be desired. However, as viewership increased, and as the league saw the opportunities for growth, so did its accessibility.
For Serie A Femminile, who also have teams competing in UEFA Women’s Champion League, the only direction they can go right now is up. In fact, Juventus gave 2020 French champions Lyon a run for their money in their UWCL clash in March, only losing 4-3 on aggregate - a result that proved that Italian clubs can run in the big leagues.
Serie A Femminile already has quality soccer and a loyal, growing fanbase. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that? So find yourself a shot of espresso, check the Serie A Femminile schedule, and get ready to fall in love with calcio. Forza ragazze!