Argentinian goalkeeper and warrior, Gabriela Garton, recently signed for Victorian state league club Essendon Royals’ senior women’s team. She was a member of Argentina’s Women’s World Cup squad and has a wealth of experience to share in Australia.
Born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota, where she played football since she was very young, Garton has an American father and an Argentinian mother. Having played for River Plate and Sol de Mayo, Garton’s last team was UAI Urquiza, the reigning champion in Argentina’s national league, which played in the Copa Libertadores – South America’s most important club competition – over the last two years.
Gabriela had been in Australia this year before France 2019 for the Cup of Nations tournament playing for the national team. Having played US college soccer, which she defines as structured, Gabriela arrives in Australia as a 29-year-old international player wanting to gain more experience in her career, and share her skills and talent with her new team.
So far, Garton really likes her new home: “What I like about Australia is the people, they are very friendly and warm. Also, it is an extremely organised and clean country.”
“When I was a child I’ve always loved Australia. I had this weird fascination with it, perhaps because of the animals that I loved, but I also loved the accent. I’ve always been interested in Australia and when I finally got the opportunity to go, it left me with the desire to return I think about a longer stay there”, Garton said.
Garton also has great interest in developing her career in Melbourne: “It’s a beautiful city, and the fact that it’s a sport-loving place, I think it’s a great place to grow as an athlete and perhaps thinking also beyond the field, in terms of a future coaching career, that is something that the club has encouraged me to pursue.”
“I really like the interest [from Essendon] in developing the women’s soccer program. Mick Gallo, the head coach, and his wife have big plans for this club and want me to make me part of them, so that’s was really exciting for me, being able to be in a place where women football is going to be a priority and being able to be part of the development of younger players.”
Not only is Garton a football player, but also she is a sociologist – and an outstanding one, too. Before the Women’s World Cup, Garton published her book Warriors, an interesting publication about women, football, and power.
Her experience in the USA and in Argentina has been quite different to her because of the varieties in the development of women football in both countries. Whereas Argentina had its first semi-professional national tournament this August, the United States is one of the most developed countries in women’s football. The first time she played for Argentina’s national team she could realise the huge differences between the two places.
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No comencé a jugar al fútbol pensando en escribir un libro… pero con Guerreras pude lograr unir mis dos pasiones: la pelota y la pluma. Fue un proceso largo, a veces arduo, pero también gratificante y nunca solitario. La presentación del jueves fue una representación de esto, una celebración del cumplimiento de un deseo y la culminación de un camino sinuoso, pero lo más lindo de todo era poder compartir el momento con muchos de los que me acompañaron en todo el proceso: como informantes, guías académicas, amigos… Me siento realmente honrada y agradecida haber tenido a dos presentadores y colegas tan de lujo al lado mío en una noche tan linda y poder sentir el cariño de todos los que estuvieron presentes no solo en persona sino también a distancia. Y por último, no me puedo olvidar de agradecer a @capitalintelectual por creer en mi trabajo y apostar a la publicación de #Guerreras// I didn’t start playing football with the intention of writing a book… but with Guerreras I was able to combine my two passions: the ball and the pen. It was a long, at times arduous, process, but largely satisfying and never lonely. Thursday’s presentation was a representation of this, a celebration of the accomplishment of a dream and the culmination of a winding road, but the best part was being able to share the moment with so many of those who were with me throughout the process: as informants, mentors, friends… I feel truly honored and thankful to have been able to have had two such brilliant colleagues by my side on such an Amazon evening and to have felt the affection of all those who were present physically and in spirit. Finally, I’d like to thank @capitalintelectual for believing in my work and betting on the publication of #Guerreras . . . . #guerreras #uaiurquiza #futbolfemenino⚽ #sociologia #escritora #libro #gabrielagarton #gabygarton #bookpresentation #dreams #sueños #womensfootball #womenssoccer #jugadoraescritora #playerwriter #author #primerlibro #firstbook #sociology #sociologyofsport #sociologiadeldeporte
However, Gabriela understands the changes she is going to face by moving to Australia: “this is going to be [a] challenge because it’s going to open some doors for me in terms of my career, as well as coaching and also academic [life], since I was in contact with a group of sociologists from Victoria University, who I’m really excited to work with.”
Despite the differences between the countries she lived in, Gabriela always played as a goalkeeper and now takes all her knowledge to Australia, where her career is going to grow to different levels. Her long experience and education will make Gabriela an interesting athlete to follow during her stay at the Royals.
See our World Cup coverage.