Professional fútbol in Granada:  a grueling game for men.

Semi-professional fútbol in Granada:  a grueling game for women.

Youth league fútbol in Granada:  a nightmare that never ends.

Even though J. and A. had signed up to play with the local fútbol club, Rayo Eneas, trouble in Barcelona had prevented them from participating in official games with their teams.

It all began when the Barcelona FC was fined for enticing young players from other countries to move to Spain and try out for the Barcelona team. According to newspaper accounts, up to 3,000 young people have been abandoned on the streets of Barcelona having failed to reach the pitch, disclaimed without family or friends.

To prevent the continuation of this “child-trafficking” FIFA is cracking down on the parents of foreign children who play on European teams.  Hence, a bunch of ex-pat kids have been left on the sidelines, able to train but unable to play until their paper trail is examined, codified, stamped, stapled, rejected, resubmitted and…….

... Éxito!  In December, J.’s coach finally figured out a way for J. to play while his papers were being processed!  Now we get to schedule every single weekend around J.’s games — either home, or away in a nearby pueblo.  As of this posting, his team is in 2nd place with a 12-1 record.  J. has scored a couple of goals and is glad to play midfield or defense.  Vaya Rayo Eneas!

Ultimately, FIFA took so long to authorize all the forms that our empadronamiento expired and D. had to return to the Centro Civico at the Oficina de Ayuntamiento in the Albayzin to renew our copy.  This was great because we got to practice one of our favorite phrases in Granada:  No pasa nada.

A., on the other hand, has yet to play in an official game.  Her forms have not been processed.  Her empadronamiento rests in an office, somewhere in the city, awaiting its stamp.  However, A. couldn’t care less.  She is happy enough to practice with her team twice a week, one of only three girls willing and able to play fútbol with the boys.  



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