Castellanos: These awards help women’s football

“It won’t be too long before she’s the best player
in the world, no question.” That was the emphatic
opinion of former Venezuela international Juan
Arango when asked by for his views on
compatriot Deyna Castellanos, who is fulfilling her
rich promise faster than anyone expected.
A goalscorer at the age of 14 – along with team-
mate Gabriela Garcia – at the FIFA U-17 Women’s
World Cup Costa Rica 2014, Castellanos was in the
limelight again at Jordan 2016, where she scored
the goal of the tournament en route to collecting
the adidas Bronze Ball and becoming the leading
goalscorer in the history of the U-17 Women’s
World Cup.
“I’m delighted with what Venezuela have achieved
and with what I’ve achieved,” said Castellanos
herself in an exclusive interview you can watch in
the video above.
Two of the five goals she scored in Jordan to help
propel La Vinotinto to fourth were truly spectacular
strikes. In the group match against Canada,
Castellanos controlled a lofted pass with her back
to goal, took out two defenders with an impudent
back-heeled drag-back and turned to hit a
thumping shot into the top corner of the net.
Then there was the jaw-dropping effort that was
voted by the fans as the goal of the tournament:
her last-gasp effort from the centre circle against
Cameroon, a stunning strike that kept her side
firmly in contention for a place in the quarter-
finals. “They were amazing goals,” said the player
who scored them.
As both were scored after 30 September, neither
goal is eligible for the 2016 FIFA Puskás Award,
though they will both be in contention for next
year’s accolade, much to the striker’s delight: “I’d
be thrilled if either of them are in the running for
the award.”
The Venezuelan starlet has some other big
objectives for the future, as her mother Yrene
Naujenis revealed in a conversation with :
“She’s always wanted to see the senior Vinotinto
team reach the World Cup, and she wants to pick
up the award for best player.”
The young forward is delighted that FIFA’s awards
offer equal recognition to the men’s and women’s
games, in the shape of The Best FIFA Women’s
Player and The Best FIFA Women’s Coach
accolades, and sees them as a big step forward:
“The men’s game is way ahead of the women’s
right now, but these awards can help raise the
standard of women’s football. That’s why it’s so
important to me.”
Castellanos can vote for her favourites at The Best
awards, just like any other football fan, a feature
that sets these awards apart from the rest. Don’t
forget that you can join her in casting your votes
at and that you have until Tuesday 22
November to do so. The awards themselves will be
presented on 9 January.
And don’t forget the name Deyna Castellanos
either. Before you know it, her dream and Arango’s
prediction could well be coming true.​


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