Friday, October 19, 2018

Founder Of Mexico’s First Professional Women’s Soccer Team Found Dead

Marbella “Mar” Ibarra, the founder of Mexico’s first professional women’s soccer team, was found dead earlier this week in El Rosarito, Baja California, a beach resort town south of Tijuana.

Ibarra’s family reported her as missing Sept. 19. Her body was found Oct. 15 covered in a blanket with her hands and feet tied.

There are few details to share about her death so far. The state’s attorney’s office said it does not believe her death had anything to do with her work in soccer.

Ibarra used profits from her beauty salon in Tijuana to found Isamar FC, an amateur women’s soccer team she also coached.

The team attracted top talent and early on put up a solid fight against Mexico’s U-20 Women’s World Cup team, losing 2-1. But it drew the attention of the national team trainer, Andrea Rodebaugh, who offered her services to the team.

The club formed an alliance with the professional men’s team, Xolos de Tijuana, and formed the country’s first professional women’s team, las Xolas de Tijuana.

las Xolas joined the United States’ semi-pro Women’s Premier Soccer league (WPSL) in 2015 since there was no competition at the time in Mexico.

Ibarra continued her work as a women’s soccer pioneer with the founding of a professional women’s league, Liga MX Femenil, which began last year.

Ibarra stepped down from her role with the league to “work on a long-sought project that with which she would achieve her professional growth”.

The BBC reported she was working with a foundation to help young female players financially so they could have try-outs with teams other than their local ones.