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Chivas Femenil’s success forges a new path

At the end of last season, Chivas Femenil seemed to fall apart. From the ashes of that season has arisen a much more complete team that kicks off the Liga MX Femenil Finals today.

Chivas v FC Juarez - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Femenil Photo by Oscar Meza/Jam Media/Getty Images

It’s been a road to redemption of sorts for Chivas Femenil. Last season started off with a lot of promise, but the fourth place finish during the regular season preceded a 3-2 aggregate loss to hated rivals Club América in the first round of the Liguilla. Then the exodus began. Norma Palafox, the club’s all-time leading goalscorer announced she was leaving, joining Pachuca after another season on the television show Exatlón. Andrea Sánchez and Nicole Pérez went to Monterrey. María Sánchez went to Tigres. Janelly Farías went to América. Fans called for manager Edgar “El Chore” Mejía’s job, and Sporting Director Nelly Simón gave an interview to CHIVAS TV that some fans found awkward and a cause for concern going into the 2021 Clausura.

Six months later, those fears are but a distant memory for Chivas fans.

The mass exodus has allowed players like Damaris Godínez, Joseline Montoya, Lía Romero, and Anette Vázquez to assume bigger roles with the club. With that, Licha Cervantes and Carolina Jaramillo have stepped up in their leadership roles and guided the team on a run that has culminated with a spot in the Finals against Tigres while both had good seasons on an individual level. Jaramillo had a decent season, finishing with one less goal than last season despite playing three less games. Cervantes set the club’s goalscoring record, surpassing Palafox earlier this season en route to finishing second behind Atlas’ Alison González for the scoring title.

Licha Cervantes became Chivas’ all-time leading scorer this season, having amassed 32 goals in her two seasons with the club.
Licha Cervantes became Chivas’ all-time leading scorer this season, having amassed 32 goals in her two seasons with the club.
Photo by Alejandro Rodriguez/Jam Media/Getty Images

It hasn’t come without struggle. Jaramillo missed three games after being red carded against Querétaro for shoving Jazmín Enrigue and kicking her when she was on the ground. Cervantes started the season slowly, with just two goals in her first five matches. She also missed two matches late in the season due to injury. And Susan Bejarano, who had become a fixture at attacking midfielder for the club, will miss the next eight to nine months with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee.

The odds are seemingly stacked against Chivas. Tigres has been a buzzsaw, downing América and Monterrey by a combined score of 12-3. But it’s worth remembering América limped into the Liguilla after a disappointing season and Rayadas weren’t the same team that won the championship last season. And while this season might not have a fairy tale ending for Chivas, recent history shows they shouldn’t be counted out of anything.