On December 25th, 1970, a group of women from FC Barcelona Femenino played their first match. However, this team was not officially recognized as part of the FC Barcelona club, and as a result, were not allowed to wear the Barça jersey or even use the club’s name.
The team was called the City of Barcelona Selection, and the original players were Mínguez, Gimeno, Gazulla, Vilaseca, Arnau, Jaques, Mayte, Cabecerán, Llansá, Estivill, Fernández, Ortiz, Pérez, Nieto, Ros and Comas.
Little did they know this team of 16, the ones wearing white shirts and blue shorts the day they stepped out onto the pitch for their first time, would change the world’s view about women’s football for many years to come.
Early History (1971-2002)
As an establishing member of Spain’s first recognized women’s league (founded as Liga Nacional in 1970), the club was founded by 18-year-old Immaculada “Imma” Cabecerán.
In February 1971, The City of Barcelona Selection changed its name to Pena Femenina Barcolonista. After this, they received some financial support from FC Barcelona and were finally able to wear the Barça jersey, but they were still not considered a part of the club.
In October 1980, women’s football became a part of the Spanish Football Federation. The first Copa De La Reina Cup was held in 1983. Meaning ‘Queen’s Cup’ in English, this tournament is held annually for the Spanish women’s association football teams.
A new name was given to the team during the 1980s: Club Femení Barcelona. FC Barcelona agreed to let them use the colors, badges, and facilities of the club, but it took a few more years for the club’s crest to be adopted. On 29 June 1985, the team won its first trophy – the Generalitat Cup.
After many years, in June of 2002, the Barcelona women’s team became a part of the club and became known as FC Barcelona Femení.
In 2005, coach Natalia Astrain brought FC Barcelona Femenino to the Super League. In 2006, they received a new coach, Xavi Llorens, and the team’s success skyrocketed.
2011 marked the club’s first league title after battling promotion and relegation. Under Llorens, FC Barcelona Femení had an amazing record of 4 La Liga league titles, 5 Copa De La Reina Cups, and 9 Catalan Cups.
In total, FC Barcelona Femeni has won a record 18 trophies: 7 Primera División titles, 9 Copa de la Reina titles, and two Spanish Supercup titles, making it the most successful club in Spanish women’s football today.
Becoming Professional At FC Barcelona Femení
In 2015, after working towards it for many years, the Barca women’s football team finally became professional. Since then, they have been ranked one of the best women’s teams in Europe by many sources.
As part of becoming professional, FC Barcelona Femení plays its home games at Johan Cruyff Stadium in Sant Joan Despí, and occasionally at the Camp Nou. Its capacity is 6,000 spectators.
First Champions League Title
FC Barcelona Femenino won their first Champions League title in 2020-21. At the largest stadium in Europe, Camp Nou, they broke the world record for the largest attendance in women’s soccer history.
And just three weeks after that, on April 22, 2022, they broke it again as they had 91,648 fans attend their game against Wolfsburg in the Women’s Champion League semi-final. After a successful 2021-22 season, they just missed winning back-to-back titles after losing to Lyon 3 to 1 in the Women’s Champion League final.
Best Players At FC Barcelona Femenino
Even though there are many incredible players in this women’s club, there are a couple over the years who have stood out.
Sonia Bermudez, although she is now retired, has made many contributions to the Camp Nou team. From the 2011-2012 season to the 2014-2015 season, she was FC Barcelona Femení’s top scorer with a combined four-year total of 115 goals.
Secondly, Jennifer Hermoso. As of now, she is the top goal scorer for Barcelona. She played for the team from 2014 to 2017 and then, after a short time away, returned to Barcelona in 2019.
Since her return, she has helped lead the team to 3 La Liga league titles, as well as 2 Copa De La Reinas victories. In 2021, she nearly won the Ballon d’Or award, receiving the second-highest amount of votes behind her own teammate Alexia Putellas. In 2021 as well, she was the highest female goalscorer of the year with a total of 51.
Even though scoring is important, it is impossible to win a game without defending too. María Pilar León, a player who is currently on the team, has held their backline very strong in many games. In 2022 she was nominated for the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year award.
This team is incredibly talented and even though just a few players were listed, every single player on the team contributes to their group’s success on the field.
In September 2022, Barcelona agreed to sign midfielder Manchester City’s Keira Walsh in a new world-record deal. Barcelona had previously offered several bids to the English club this summer, but they have now accepted a bid of £350,000 (€461,000).
Athletic Bilbao Rivalry
Among the top women’s teams in the Spanish league are Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona. The Athletic Bilbao team has won five titles. It has been a tradition for both teams to finish among the top five in the table since 2009–10.
One of their most memorable matches was the final game to see who would win the league title. FC Barcelona Femeni beat Athletic 2–1 in a winner-takes-all match at San Mamés on 5 May 2013, ensuring their own second title. Athletic needed only one point for their fifth title, but FC Barcelona defeated them 2–1.
Trophies Won By FC Barcelona Femenino
Since their first Copa De La Reina victory in 1993, FC Barcelona Femení has accumulated many trophies and won many titles.
Spanish Women’s League (Liga F)
Times won: 7
Years: 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22
Liga F Description: Women’s football in Spain competes at the highest level in the First Division of the Women’s Football League, currently known as Liga F.
UEFA Women’s Champions League
Times won: 1
UEFA Women’s Champions League Description: The Union of European Football Associations, UEFA, is a league that features the top club teams from all of Europe.
Copa De La Reina
Times won: 9
Years: 1993-94, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22
Description: Copa De La Reina, meaning Queen’s Cup in English, is a yearly tournament for the top women’s teams in Spain. From 2004 to 2017, only the top 8 teams made it to this tournament, but in 2018, all of the 16 teams in the 1st division were allowed to join.
Since then, Copa De La Reina has continued to grow, and in the past season, 2021-2022, the tournament featured 52 teams.
Times won: 10
Years: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Catalan Description: In the Catalan autonomous community of Spain, the Catalan Football Federation organizes the Copa Catalunya Femenina for women’s football clubs.
Spanish Super Cup
Times won: 2
Years: 2020, 2022
Super Cup Description: The teams that finish first and second place in the Copa De La Reina and the highest-ranking teams from the Primera División (Liga F) compete in this four-team tournament.
Times won: 1
Description: Term for the Catalan Cup in the 1980s
At the end of the 2021-2022 season, FC Barcelona Femenino was in first place in the league with 90 points. The Camp Nou team was undefeated in 30 matches and had a total goal differential of 148, averaging over five goals per game. The team wnt on to win 45 consecutive games across all competitions, a Guinness world record
To put it in perspective, the 2nd place team, Real Sociedad, had 66 points and a goal differential of 29. This was their 7th title, but undoubtedly they have more to come.
Despite many struggles finding support early on, this FC Barcelona Women’s team has found a large amount of success, proven they deserve a spot on the field, and changed the world’s view of women’s soccer.
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!