Mexico mourns loss of women’s football pioneer Marbella Ibarra

October 19 – Mexican football is mourning the loss of one the pioneers of the women’s game in the country following the murder of Marbella Ibarra.

Her body was found on Monday wrapped in plastic sheeting in Rosarito, a beach resort south of the border city of Tijuana. Her hands and feet had been tied and she had been beaten. Her funeral was held on Wednesday.

Ibarra, 46, had been a player and had used her income from the beauty salon she ran to first fund an amateur women’s team, Isamar FC, before foundeing the professional team Xolas de Tijuana, which first played across the border in the US women’s league as there was no professional women’s league in Mexico at the time.

She was a key force in the founding of the professional Mexican women’s league in 2017 and an inspirational figure to many of the women currently playing football in Mexico.

Most recently she had set up a foundation helping young female footballer players financially so they could have trials with teams other than their local ones.

Her murder is not believed to be connected to her football involvement.

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