A book by Maria Coppola: her career as a footballer and the beginning of women’s football in Malta

Former Malta international player Maria Coppola recently published a book about her career as a football player.

The book speaks about the beginning of women’s football on the island and how she started the game of football which is so close to her heart.

Coppola was born in a family of five – with Anna her twin sister, Lorraine the elder sister and her parents, Hermann and Vinnie. They emigrated to Australia in 1983 but returned back after just three months.

Her father used to take Maria to the Infetti Ground in Birkirkara where he was involved in the Birkirkara Falcons. She started playing football for the first time and then almost every Saturday with boys at around the age of ten.

Coppola joined Depiro in the women’s 5-a-side league organised by Luxol in 1992. She later took part in the 7-a-side league organised by San Gwann. Interest grew among female players and a selection from the San Gwann league travelled to Czech Republic to take part in a tournament.

In 1995, the Malta Football Association organized its first seven-a-side league at the Infetti Ground and later a 9-a-side league. An American scout watched Maria Coppola playing there and after noticing her skills, he invited her to move to the USA. She grabbed this opportunity that to which she played in the USA for five years. She moved back to Malta in 2000 and joined Melita in Women’s League which was now being played at the Pace Grasso Ground.

In 2004, Coppola got the opportunity to play in France with US Le Pecq and a year later, she moved to Paris St Germain. However this experience was cut short as she was hit by meningitis, forcing her to quit the game for some time. As her health improved, she returned back to Malta and played for Mgarr United in season 2011/12, winning the Second Division league.

Maria Coppola states that “The lesson I learned throughout my football career is that one should never lose heart and always look forward no matter what happens.”

When her playing career was over, Coppola started to concentrate on her coaching career.

The book is available from Agenda bookshops at Pavi, Pama, Embassy, Republic Street, Mater Dei Hospital, Gozo Ferry, Airport, Plaza and Tigne together with Circle-A at Arkadia, Bookworm and Bargate in Gozo.