Carmelina Moscato took the reins at Tigres Femenil a little more than a week ago and she already seems to understand, at least in part, the gravity of taking the helm of one of the biggest women’s soccer clubs in the Western Hemisphere. “Tigres Femenil wants to be the best club in the world, and wants to continue growing and building upon what it has already been achieved, and that matches my ambition,” she said during a press conference on Friday.
“I’d be lying to you to say that I fully understand” the pressure, but after pointing out her impressive résumé as a player with Canada’s national team and the pressures to win in the Olympics and World Cup, Moscato said she understood the very high expectations of the Incomparables. “I wouldn’t have accepted the challenge if I didn’t think I could add value to this project,” adding that “I think that’s what women’s football needs to start doing a little bit more (of).”
“I’m excited to go through it, to be in the Volcán and be eaten alive. It’s good. Let’s go.”
Moscato has followed the league since its inception, pointing out that one of her previous jobs was studying leagues around the world to start a league in her native Canada. “The way that the (Liga MX Femenil) has started from scratch has been very inspirational,” she said in a press conference held Friday afternoon. “It’s a league designed by Mexicans, for Mexicans, and I really respect that.”
When asked about what she can bring to the club with her background as player, a coach, and an administrator for all levels of women’s soccer around the world, Moscato initially started out talking about the winning culture that existed before adding “I think I can come in and add some women’s football expertise on and off the pitch,” she said, pointing out that on the pitch “this is a team that has excelled in their style of play.” While Tigres is used to dominating their opponents with goals and possessions, “I think there’s a lot to be done in the margins,” adding that she wants the team to be “better in the overall defensive organization and in transition.”
“I’m hoping, and planning, on making sure we’re dominant in more moments of the match (and) for longer periods of time,” she added. While Tigres will be without several players during the upcoming international window, Moscato looked at it as an opportunity for other players to step up. “Every other player in this program is still so important, (and we have to make sure) that we are training them in the new principles, the new style, the new preferences that I’ll have tactically. So it’s actually gives us a wonderful opportunity to work on the players with us.”
“They’re gonna get a head start,” she added with a smile.
“It’s been a great, open locker room. They’ve been receiving me and the new ideas very well,” adding “I just see it as other players getting a chance to step up.”
Later in the press conference she talked about her preferred style of play, saying “I love to build out of the back, (to have) a possession-oriented team. I’m expecting to break teams down by breaking lines. I would like a dynamic, fluid attack,” emphasizing counter-pressing and the desire to dominate teams in possession.
“The plan is to dominate the league through our pressing,” later adding “I truly believe in structure and having teams that are organized.” She noted that an issue that could arise is Tigres playing more as individuals and less as a team where “the individual creativity and gifts can show.”
Moscato was asked about being the first woman to coach Tigres Femenil, and her response was that she was the best person regardless of gender for the job. “I put a lot of time and hours in (the) twenty-plus years into my craft. I’m a competent person. I have high character, and that’s why I think I’ll succeed.”
She addressed having two new international spots by saying that “it’s going to be based on team needs,” which she went on to say “there’s a current assessment happening within the team on which positions are necessary,” that are outside of what Tigres has as well as the domestic market. She later said they were “looking across multiple positions, mostly to strengthen the team down the center of the pitch,” and that she “would like to strengthen the defense in terms of depth.”
When asked if she had to adapt her style of play to the Mexican players or if the Mexican players had to adapt to her style of play, she said she wanted the players to “operate at a higher capacity. I still believe they don’t know how good they could be, there’s also a point where I’m seeing skillsets like Fer (Elizondo) finishing in the box. The skill around the box in this player is tremendous, something that maybe we don’t have in Canada or that I haven’t seen in my European experience.” Moscato also mentioned Belén Cruz by name, calling her an “unbelievable talent” and saying that what the players and her can create on the pitch would be “quite interesting.” She later added that the domestic players that have international experience like “Nayeli (Rangel), and El Capitano (Liliana) Mercado. These are valuable, valuable players that will bring in that Mexican layer of experience and style that I have to adapt and take advantage of their skills and gifts.”
Moscato was grateful for the warm welcome Tigres fans had given her. “I want to genunely say ‘thank you’, ” she said, laughing and referencing the “Te quiero” memes that have been going around social media.
Welcome to the best team in Mexico pic.twitter.com/BTlWp0Rafw— Diana Tinajero (@Dianatinajero01) June 9, 2022
Moscato finished the conference by talking about what she brings to the team and changes to the staff. She reiterated that she brings “a depth of experience in the women’s game,” pointing out she chose to become a coach after working “as a strategist, as a league commissioner, (and) as an analyst for the World Cup for Canada.”
“I can relate to the players. I know what they’re going through. I know what the standards in the modern game are.” she continued. “My job is to meet this group exactly where they’re at, be able to relate to the people in the room.” She said the majority of the staff would be unchanged from last year, however Tigres would be bringing in an assistant coach. “We’re in the final stages of finding the right assistant for this particular project.” She indicated it was an on-going search, but one the club wanted to get right.
Tigres has always been a winning club, and Moscato not only said that she understood and respected this history but also exuded a confidence that she could take this project and make it one of the best in the world.