While most of the Women’s Soccer world was focused on the international break, there was still one league heading into their final matches of the year. LigaMX Femenil, officially known as Liga BBVA MX Femenil, will have the final match of Apertura 22 on Monday, November 14, 2022 in Monterrey, Mexico.
Mexico has been breaking records during their playoff run over the last few weeks, most noticeably, in the semi-finals between two classic rivalries in soccer in Mexico. When El Classico Regio was played between Rayads and Tigres both from Monterrey, attendance in the stadium was over 42,000 on a Monday night. Liga BBVA MX Femenil is in its fifth year, with a total of 18 teams, and they play year round with small breaks between apertura and clausura as well as FIFA international windows.
Now, let’s look into how Liga BBVA MX Femenil compares to NWSL.
Each team in Mexico has a relation to their male counterpart, meaning at its inception, fans of the men’s league could turn their attention to their female team and build a fan base from there. This was essentially like a head start compared to the NWSL who previously had failed leagues. The NWSL currently have three teams affiliated with MLS teams, and two with USL teams. The teams share training facilities, stadiums, and sponsorships for the most part. While the inaugural season only had 16 teams play due to financial reasons, over the last five years, they’ve been able to keep 18 teams going.
At the start, there were certain rules, for example, no foreign born athletes could play in the league, teams were expected to have U-23 rosters, four spots reserved for U-17 players, and two spots for overage players. As the third season began, age restrictions were slowly lifted. were now U-25 and up to six overaged players were allowed on the roster, as well as foreign born Mexican players being allowed to play. This brought in more NCAA players as well as players from the NWSL and Spain's LigaF. By the fourth season, the overage limit was removed. In the fifth season each team now had the opportunity to have two international-non Mexican players on the team and began a U-17 division. By the sixth season, VAR began to be implemented in the playoffs as well as the international-non Mexican players on each team being increased to four.
Within its first year of fully running, Liga BBVA MX Femenil was able to break a worldwide attendance record in the final between Rayadas and Tigres. Most recently they have continued to break records and sell out for its playoff run in Apertura 22. Having a two leg playoff series seems to bring in more attention for the fans as well. Each team plays each other twice within a 5 day period, a home and away match, where fans of both teams can show their support.
Jerseys in Liga BBVA are full of their sponsors' names. Compared to other leagues where each jersey has their main sponsor with the team crest and each player's name. In Mexico, each jersey has a spot for sponsorship. The sleeves, back of the shirts, shorts, even socks can be branded by the sponsors. These sponsors provide salaries and TV rights for the teams. This is unlike the NWSL where Nike supplies all jerseys and balls. In Liga MX each team has their own jersey supplier, so things look a little different.
The game played in Liga BBVA sometimes seems to go by faster than any other league match. The ball moves quicker and attack is a high priority. Worldwide, women’s soccer is on the rise, and a market is there for even more growth. In Mexico, the steps are being done to become one of the top leagues in the world, even developing young talent for the national team.
Tune into the final match tonight, November 14, between Tigres and Club América at 9:00pm EST. The game can be streamed on ViX+, TUDN, or Tigres Facebook page