Liga MX Femenil
Organising bodyMexican Football Federation
FoundedDecember 5, 2016; 5 years ago (2016-12-05)
CountryMexico
ConfederationCONCACAF
Number of teams18
Level on pyramid1
Domestic cup(s)Copa MX Femenil
Current championsMonterrey (2nd title)
(Grita México 2021)
Most championshipsUANL
(4 titles)
TV partnersESPN[1]
Fox Sports[2]
Televisa[3]
TVC Deportes[4]
TV Azteca[5]
TVP
WebsiteWebsite
Current: 2021–22 Liga MX Femenil season

The Liga BBVA MX Femenil is the highest division of women's football in Mexico. Supervised by the Mexican Football Federation, this professional league has 18 teams, each coinciding with a Liga MX squad.[6] Following the same schedule as the men's league, each season has two halves: an apertura tournament, which takes place from July to December, and a clausura tournament, which takes place from January to May. The league's first official competitions took place in May 2017 via the Copa MX Femenil, while the inaugural season began in July 2017.[7] Liga MX CEO Enrique Bonilla stated the league was created in order to nurture the stars of the Mexico women's national football team and build an infrastructure for women's football nationwide.[8]

The current champions are C.F. Monterrey who defeated Tigres Femenil in 2–2 aggregate and 3–1 in penalty kicks in the final on 20 December 2021.

History

Liga Mexicana de Fútbol Femenil

In 2007, there was an attempt to professionalize women's football in Mexico via the Liga Mexicana de Fútbol Femenil. While the league did foster some success, particularly when Mexico's national team beat the United States for the first time in 2010,[9] it did not have a major sponsorship and lacked media coverage. Likewise, major clubs, such as Chivas de Guadalajara, pulled their support. As a result, the league was relegated to semi-professional status.[citation needed]

NWSL

In 2012, the United States Soccer Federation, the Canadian Soccer Association, the Mexican Football Federation, the USL W-League, and the Women's Premier Soccer League met to form the National Women's Soccer League. With its inaugural season in 2013, during which Mexican player Renae Cuéllar scored the first ever goal for the league, Mexico allocated players in an effort to build talent in North America. However, by 2016, the Mexican Football Federation announced it would no longer allocate players, which foreshadowed the Liga MX Femenil.

First team

Marbella Ibarra was an enthusiastic football advocate interceded with Xolos of Tijuana to persuade them to create a women's team in 2014. Andrea Rodebaugh, former national team player and U-20 women's national team coach, took the helm during the program's stint in the Women's Premier Soccer League[10]

A New Mexican League

Preparation

In December 2016, during a general assembly meeting with all Liga MX club owners in the new Mexican Football Federation headquarters, Liga MX CEO Enrique Bonilla announced the formation of the new Liga MX Femenil.[11] In an effort to grow and build talent within Mexico, he announced that 16 Liga MX clubs (excluding Puebla and Chiapas due to financial problems) would field U-23 rosters with four U-17 players and up to two overage players.[11]

Before the inaugural season the teams took part in a domestic cup called Copa MX Femenil in May 2017.[12] The tournament took place between 3 May and 6 May 2017 with only 12 of the 16 teams participating due to four not having a team ready.[13] Pachuca won the final 9–1 against Club Tijuana.[14]

First season

The first Apertura matches were played on 28 July 2017. The Chivas won the league championship on November 24, 2017, defeating Pachuca in the last match of a two-match playoff. The two matches drew record-setting crowds of 28,955 and 32,466 spectators, respectively.[15][16]

Commentator Glenn Moore declared the Liga MX Femenil to have concluded a "very successful debut campaign."[17]

Regulations

During the inaugural season, teams were expected to field U-23 rosters; four slots were reserved for U-17 players, while two were for overage players. All players had to be born in Mexico. Additionally, the sixteen teams were split into two groups. Teams in each group played each other twice per season. The top two teams from each group advanced to the playoffs, which would be a semifinal of two matches (home and away) followed by a final, also of two matches.

After the first season, the rules mostly stayed the same. However, the U-23 limit was raised to U-24. As for the playoffs, they were expanded to eight teams. The top four teams from each group moved on to the liguilla, with the top team from one group playing the fourth ranked team from the other in the quarterfinals.

For the third season, the age limit was raised to 25, but each team was allowed to field up to 6 overage players at a time. In addition, the groups were undone, so each team would play each other at least once during the season. Foreign-born Mexican players were also allowed to play, with up to six allowed per team. This decision brought in more players from the NCAA as well as from the NWSL and Spain's Primera División. Previously, only Alejandría Godínez, Pachuca's goalkeeper, represented the NCAA as an alumna of DePaul.

For the fifth season, Liga MX Femenil allows each team to field two foreign-born non-Mexican players. On 25 June 2021, Tigres UANL became the first league side to do make use of this option, by signing Stefany Ferrer, a Spaniard of Brazilian descent who had started her career in her native Spain and had also played in the United States. On the other hand, Guadalajara is the only team that does not resort to this type of signings, following the club Mexican-nationalist policy.

Although Liga MX Femenil serves to improve the performance of their players of Mexican citizenship in the face of eventual call-ups for the Mexico women's national team, they (both born in as outside Mexico) can also choose other national team they were eligible. Thus, Mexican-born Tijuana midfielder Valentina Oviedo has played for Colombia at under–20 level, while foreign-born Santos Laguna forward Linda Frías has played for El Salvador at senior level.

Notable Results

The league set history as the final between Monterrey and Tigres was the highest attended club match in women's soccer history, with a total of 51,211 fans attending the match played at the Estadio BBVA. After the Spanish final of 2019, that record was broken, but Mexico still holds 7 out of the 10 highest attendance records for club games. This is in addition to Mexico's record for highest attendance of any women's sporting event, which took place during the 1971 Women's World Cup Final in the Estadio Azteca.

On October 5, 2019, the Liga MX Femenil and the NWSL hosted their first ever international friendly. Tigres hosted their fellow CONCACAF rivals the Houston Dash in the Estadio Universitario. Tigres won that match 2–1. The following year, Houston won the inaugural Challenge Cup, while Tigres finished second in the Apertura 2019.

Club Changes

During the inaugural season, 16 out of 18 of the Liga MX teams fielded a women's squad. Chiapas and Puebla were given a pass given their financial struggles. However, by the second season, all 18 teams fielded a squad. By then, Chiapas had been relegated to Ascenso MX, while Lobos BUAP had been promoted to the top division. As such, Lobos BUAP and Puebla both had women's squads.

For the third season, the field expanded to 19 teams, as Atlético San Luis was promoted to Liga MX while no team was relegated. Their promotion also introduced Atlético San Luis Femenil. Additionally, Lobos BUAP was bought by then-second division FC Juárez, so the women's team moved from Puebla to Juárez to form FC Juárez Femenil. After the Apertura 2019, Veracruz folded, and with it meant the Tiburonas were now a defunct club as well, bringing the league back down to 18 teams.

Sponsorships

Just before the third season, BBVA México announced that it would sponsor the Liga MX Femenil in addition to Liga MX and Ascenso MX. With the sponsorship, which is slated for at least three years, the league's name was changed to Liga BBVA MX Femenil in June 2019. Each club also has sponsors for their jerseys, salaries, TV rights, and other factors.

Lower Divisions

In addition to the Liga Mexicana de Fútbol Femenil, which facilitates the SuperLiga and the segunda división, Mexico is also home to the Liga Mayor Femenil. Most players in the Liga MX Femenil previously played in either of these existing leagues, as well as in various Mexican or US college teams and the WPSL.

Teams

The following 18 clubs will compete in the Liga MX Femenil during the 2021–22 season.

Location of the 2019–20 Liga MX Femenil teams in Greater Mexico City
Club City Ground Capacity Ref
América Mexico City Azteca 81,070 [18]
Atlas Guadalajara Jalisco 55,020 [19]
Atlético San Luis San Luis Potosí City Alfonso Lastras 25,709 [20]
Cruz Azul Mexico City Instalaciones La Noria 2,000 [21][22]
Guadalajara Zapopan Akron 46,232 [23]
Juárez Ciudad Juárez Olímpico Benito Juárez 19,703 [24]
León León León 31,297 [25]
Mazatlán Mazatlán Mazatlán 25,000 [26]
Monterrey Guadalupe BBVA 51,348 [27]
Necaxa Aguascalientes City Victoria 23,851 [28]
Pachuca Pachuca Hidalgo 27,512 [29]
Puebla Puebla City Cuauhtémoc 47,417 [30]
Querétaro Querétaro City Corregidora 33,162 [31]
Santos Laguna Torreón Corona 29,237 [32]
Tijuana Tijuana Caliente 27,333 [33]
Toluca Toluca Nemesio Díez 31,000 [34]
UANL San Nicolás de los Garza Universitario 41,886 [35]
UNAM Mexico City Olímpico Universitario 48,297 [36]

Format

For the 2019 Apertura, teams were in one group of nineteen, while for the Clausura they were in a group of eighteen. After playing each other, the top eight teams advance to the "liguilla," the league's version of the playoffs. However, due to COVID-19, both the men's and women's leagues were suspended, and no champion was recognized.

Champions


Season Champions Result Runners-up
Apertura 2017 Guadalajara 0–2, 3–0 Pachuca
Clausura 2018 UANL 2–2, 2–2 (4–2 pen) Monterrey
Apertura 2018 América 2–2, 1–1 (3–1 pen) UANL
Clausura 2019 UANL 1–1, 2–1 Monterrey
Apertura 2019 Monterrey 1–1, 1–0 UANL
Clausura 2020 no title awarded
Guardianes 2020 UANL 1–0, 0–1 (3–2 pen) Monterrey
Guardianes 2021 UANL 2–1, 5–3 Guadalajara
Grita México 2021 Monterrey 2–2, 0–0 (3–1 pen) UANL

Titles per club

Club Winners Runners-up Winning years
Tigres UANL 4 3 Clausura 2018, Clausura 2019, Guardianes 2020, Guardianes 2021
Monterrey 2 3 Apertura 2019, Grita México 2021
Guadalajara 1 1 Apertura 2017
América 1 0 Apertura 2018

Media coverage

Broadcast rights
Team Mexico Broadcaster U.S. Broadcaster Day Time*
América Televisa[Note 1] / Club América Digital[Note 9] Univision[Note 2] / Club América Digital[Note 9] Various Various
Atlas TVC Deportes Saturday 10:00 AM
Atlético San Luis ESPN[Note 10] Sunday 5:00 PM
Cruz Azul Televisa[Note 1] Univision[Note 2] Friday 4:00 PM
Guadalajara Fox Sports / Chivas TV NBCUniversal[Note 3] Monday 5:00 PM
Juárez Televisa[Note 1] Univision[Note 2] Monday 5:00 PM
León Fox Sports Monday 7:00 PM
Mazatlán ESPN[Note 10] / TV Azteca[Note 7] / TVP[Note 11] TVP[Note 11] Friday 8:00 PM
Monterrey Fox Sports ESPN[Note 4] / Fox Deportes[Note 8] Monday 9:00 PM
Necaxa Televisa[Note 1] Univision[Note 2] Monday 5:00 PM
Pachuca Fox Sports Monday 5:00 PM
Puebla TVC Deportes Sunday 12:00 PM
Querétaro TVC Deportes Friday 5:00 PM
Santos Laguna Fox Sports ESPN[Note 4] / Fox Deportes[Note 8] Monday 9:00 PM
Tijuana Fox Sports / Xolos Digital[Note 5] ESPN[Note 4] / Fox Deportes[Note 8] / Xolos Digital[Note 5] Monday 9:00 PM
Toluca Televisa[Note 1] Univision[Note 2] Monday 5:00 PM
UANL Televisa[Note 1] / Tigres Digital[Note 6] Univision[Note 2] / Tigres Digital[Note 6] Monday 7:00 PM
UNAM Televisa[Note 1] Univision[Note 2] Saturday 12:00 PM
  1. ^
    Matches are shown on TUDN México.
  2. ^
    Matches are shown on TUDN USA or TUDN Xtra.
  3. ^
    Matches are streamed on Telemundo streaming platforms (Telemundo Deportes App, TelemundoDeportes.com). Home matches vs Club América and any final match at home are also televised on pay TV network Universo.
  4. ^
    Selected matches are streamed on ESPN+ and may air on ESPN Deportes either live or via tape-delay. Rights sublicensed from Fox Deportes.
  5. ^
    Selected matches are shown on Fox Sports 2 (Mexico only) or Xolos' digital platforms (Facebook & YouTube).
  6. ^
    Matches are shown on TUDN México or Tigres' digital platforms (Facebook).
  7. ^
    Matches are shown on Azteca Digital
  8. ^
    Selected matches are shown on Fox Deportes either live or via tape-delay.
  9. ^
    All home matches are streamed on Club América's digital platforms (YouTube).
  10. ^
    All home matches are shown on linear TV and streamed via Star+ in Mexico, Central America and Dominican Republic, and streamed via Star+ in Spanish-speaking South America.
  11. ^
    All home matches are streamed via the TVP account on Facebook.

Attendance

The attendance for the first regular season for the 16 teams was 307,202 for 112 matches, an average of 2,743 per match. The attendance for the 6 post-season matches was 104,804. The total attendance for 118 matches was 412,006, and average of 3,492 per match.[37]

The league has set various attendance records for women's club soccer. The Tigres vs. Monterrey final in May 2018 saw over 51,000 attendees; this occupied the top spot in the world for nearly a year. Prior to this match, Mexico's other finals and rivalry games had also set new records or made it into the top 10 attendance records.[38]

Managers

The current managers in the Liga MX Femenil are:

Nat. Name Club Appointed Time as manager
Mexico Roberto Medina UANL 31 May 2019 2 years, 225 days
Mexico Carla Rossi Querétaro 11 June 2020 1 year, 214 days
Mexico Ana Cristina González Juárez 14 December 2020 1 year, 28 days
Mexico Carlos Roberto Pérez Cruz Azul 22 December 2020 1 year, 20 days
Mexico Jorge Campos Santos Laguna 19 January 2021 357 days
Mexico Jesús Palacios Necaxa 26 May 2021 230 days
Mexico Fabiola Vargas Tijuana 31 May 2021 225 days
England Craig Harrington América 4 June 2021 221 days
Mexico Karina Báez UNAM 7 June 2021 218 days
Mexico Eva Espejo Monterrey 13 June 2021 212 days
Mexico Jesús Padrón Pérez Atlético San Luis 18 June 2021 207 days
Mexico Gabriel Velasco Toluca 27 November 2021 45 days
Mexico Pablo Luna Puebla 6 December 2021 36 days
Mexico Juan Carlos Mendoza Mazatlán 8 December 2021 34 days
Mexico Juan Pablo Alfaro Guadalajara 14 December 2021 28 days
Mexico Adrián Martínez León 16 December 2021 26 days
Mexico Octavio Valdez Pachuca 23 December 2021 19 days
Mexico Alejandro Rosales Atlas 29 December 2021 13 days

Top scorers

Tournament Player Club Goals
Apertura 2017 Mexico Lucero Cuevas América 15
Clausura 2018 Mexico Lucero Cuevas América 15
Apertura 2018 Mexico Desirée Monsiváis Monterrey 13
Clausura 2019 Mexico Fabiola Ibarra Atlas 7
Mexico Isela Ojeda Santos Laguna
Apertura 2019 Mexico Desirée Monsiváis Monterrey 17
Mexico Viridiana Salazar Pachuca
Guardianes 2020 Mexico Katty Martínez UANL 18
Guardianes 2021 Mexico Alison González Atlas 18
Grita México 2021 Mexico Alicia Cervantes Guadalajara 17

References

  1. ^ includes ESPN 2 and ESPN 3
  2. ^ includes Fox Sports 2
  3. ^ includes TUDN
  4. ^ includes TVC Deportes 2
  5. ^ Includes Azteca Digital
  6. ^ "Sin Puebla ni Jaguares, Liga Femenil alista Copa como ensayo". 16 February 2017.
  7. ^ "La Liga MX anuncia el sorteo para el Torneo de Copa Femenil". MARCA Claro. 24 April 2017.
  8. ^ "México tendrá Liga MX femenil a partir de 2017". El Financiero. 5 December 2016.
  9. ^ "U.S. Women Upset by Mexico 2-1 at CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying Tournament". www.ussoccer.com. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  10. ^ Lakhani, Nina (2018-10-21). "Pioneer of women's football in Mexico is latest victim of Tijuana violence". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  11. ^ a b MX, LIGA MX / ASCENSO. "LIGA MX - Página Oficial de la Liga del Fútbol Profesional en México .: Bienvenido". www.ligamx.net.
  12. ^ "Realizarán sorteo para Copa MX Femenil". ESPN Deportes. 24 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Clubes faltantes no estaban listos para la Copa Femenil: Bonilla". MedioTiempo. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Pachuca, primer Campeón del futbol Femenil". www.record.com.mx (in Spanish). 6 May 2017. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  15. ^ "Pachuca Tomó Ventaja en la Gran Final". www.ligafemenil.mx. 20 November 2017. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  16. ^ "El Club Guadalajara es Campeón de la LIGA MX Femenil". www.ligafemenil.mx. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  17. ^ Moore, Glenn (Dec 29, 2017), "Kansas Move to Utah", World Soccer Magazine.
  18. ^ "Club América". ligafemenil.mx.
  19. ^ "Atlas". www.ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Club Atlético de San Luis". Liga MX Femenil. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  21. ^ Hernández, Néstor (18 December 2020). "Cruz Azul Femenil dejará Ciudad Cooperativa por la Noria". debate.com.mx (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  22. ^ "Instalaciones La Noria Cancha 1 - Soccerway". int.soccerway.com.
  23. ^ "C.D. Guadalajara". ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  24. ^ "FC Juarez". www.ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  25. ^ "Estadio Nou Camp". www.ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Monarcas Morelia". Sit34,984. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  27. ^ "Monterrey". ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  28. ^ "Nexaca". ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  29. ^ "Pachuca". ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  30. ^ "Puebla FC". www.ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  31. ^ "Estadio La Corregidora". www.ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  32. ^ "Santos Laguna". ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  33. ^ "Club Tijuana". ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  34. ^ "Toluca". ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  35. ^ "Tigres UANL". ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  36. ^ "UNAM". ligafemenil.mx. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  37. ^ "Liga MX Femenil reveals impressive attendance numbers". www.concacaf.com. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  38. ^ "Liga MX Femenil reveals impressive attendance numbers". www.statista.com. 26 November 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2021.