Like many of our ViolaNation readers, I have followed the Fiorentina Women’s team for the past couple years almost as closely as I have followed the men’s team. And why shouldn’t I? They are stocked full of star-studded talent that leads not only our club but also the Italian National Team. They are successful, trophy winners and the team is comprised of some of the greatest role models kids (and parents) could ask for. Please see our interview with Alia Guagni.
In Italy though, they are still a generation or two away from appreciating their female athletes the way that we appreciate Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Marta, Sam Kerr, Lucy Bronze and Ada Hegerberg globally. Finally it was announced two weeks ago that in 2020 these women will be recognized for their professional status, something that has alluded them until now, preventing them from receiving a competitive salary and retirement benefits.
It wasn’t until my most recent trip to Florence last week that I really understood this paradigm in which professional female athletes compete, get paid and are supported in Italy, and it honestly left me hoping for better. Thankfully there is a group of people in and around Florence that are doing their part to help make it better. This loyal group of fans have been supporting the Fiorentina Women’s team since it started. They organize home support and activities as well as away travel. When I was at the game against Inter Milan, the Go Women’s Club came to the game early to put out Christmas presents for each of the fans in attendance, presents that came from Fiorentina and their sponsor Rinescente.
The Viola Club Go Women’s is the first club of supporters totally dedicated to a women’s soccer team. Starting as a conversation inside of a bar near Leopolda Station between seven Fiorentina Women’s fans in July 2018, Viola Club Go Women’s was officially created on August 1st, 2018 when they signed a deed of incorporation and the statute of a non-profit association.
Groups with seven members have always been culturally significant. In Japan you have Seven Samurai, a movie that tells the story of village of farmers that hire seven rōnin to combat bandits who return after the harvest to steal their crops. In the United States, that story was adopted into The Magnificent Seven, where gunfighters were hired to protect a village from a gang of bandits. This group of seven is equally significant. The first seven members were: Sonia Nuzzi, Martina Misuraca, Francesco Colella, Jacopo Uccelli, Roberto Morreale, Fabio Puglisi and Sergio Berni. Like Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen and James Coburn, they each had their own reasons to forge this new club but were united by love of the purple shirt and especially this women’s team.
This group is more than just a fan club blazing the trail for normalizing an appreciation for professional female football in Florence and Italy. They also focus on impacting the lives of others in their community. Viola Club Go Women’s Vice President, Claudia Matassoni tells us:
“We are very proud of our initiatives. Some of them are directly related with the Fiorentina Women’s FC and others are related with key social projects. After every match, each member of our Viola Club can give a vote for the best player. These votes are aggregated together to create a ranking that will identify the Best Fiorentina Football Player of the Month. The Player of the Month receives their award at the Franchi Stadium. We organize each trip of supporters for the away matches, far from the city of Florence and Gino Bozzi Stadium. During special festivities we also give gifts to the members of The Viola Club Go Women’s. It’s a fun group!”
Claudia continues how they are working with many local charities alongside the Fiorentina Women’s team to improve lives. “We partner with Onlus Art4Sport, an organization created by Teresa Grandis, the mother of Italian Paralympic Athlete Bebe Vio and with the Cooperativa Sociale Controvento di Rivotorto, an organization that helps single mothers and their kids who are victims of violence and abuse. We support FISPES, the Italian Federation of Paralympic and Experimental Sports and their National Soccer Amputees Team. Last March we were fortunate enough to manage the Soccer Amputees Team training and we participated at a 18° memorial of Niccolò Galli in May.
Something very special for the club is their annual social dinner. The first one they had was held in December 2018 at Cafaggio Castle, in Impruneta, near Florence. A quick Google search shows us that this group of fans has impeccable taste and makes me jealous that I didn’t become a member quicker. Claudia tells us, “More than one hundred people attended the event which was also attended by 8 players from Fiorentina Women’s FC along with the President, Coach Antonio Cincotta and Team Manager. Our next social dinner will be on February 18th, 2020 and will host around two hundred people. We are still working on the final details, but we will just say that the location will be just as magnificent as the first one. All the Fiorentina Women’s team will attend with the coaching staff and probably some from the Fiorentina management.”
So what next? Next we will go a little more in depth with a couple of their founders. They were kind enough to sit down and tell us a little bit about what makes the women’s team so special. Until then, for those who are interested in joining the Viola Club Go Women’s can do so by going to their website - http://www.violaclubgowomens.it/. For those who don’t speak Italian, Google Translate works very well!
For 15 euro you can join the club. For an additional 10 euro, you are able to purchase the Go Womens scarf, most likely for watching the game streaming at your home unless you are lucky enough to support the women’s team with the club at the Gino Bozzi. I sent in my application yesterday to join. As a member you are able to attend all games/activities while you are in Italy. Most importantly, you can join the one hundred strong members and show the Fiorentina Women’s team the support they deserve.
Forza Viola! Forza Ragazze!