Monday 26 November 2018, 04:41

El Tri's penalty heroine shares her secrets

  • Goalkeeper Jaidy Gutierrez played a crucial role in Mexico’s historic victory

  • Her shoot-out heroics helped El Tri reach their first semi-final

  • Shares her penalty-stopping secrets with

“Jaidy, Jaidy, Jaidy!” came the chants from the dressing room, in recognition of Jaidy Gutierrez’s double save during Mexico’s tense penalty shoot-out win over Ghana on Sunday. And her team-mates were right to show their appreciation for their talented goalkeeper, who was instrumental in qualifying El Tri for the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup for the first time.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a great honour to have saved those penalties and create a little bit of history with my national team,” the triumphant ’keeper, without boots and clearly still on a high after the match, told in the corridors of Estadio Charrua. “I don’t quite know what else to say!”

What about her tricks of the trade when facing penalty kicks? “There’s definitely some luck involved, but I’ve also got a couple of aces up my sleeve,” admitted the 17-year-old custodian.

Her coach, Monica Vergara, was effusive in her praise for the undisputed Mexico No1. “In my opinion, Jaidy is the cornerstone of the team, the one who organises and comes out ready to play,” she said. “Before the shoot-out, I just told her she was the best penalty-stopper we had, and that I had confidence in her.”

“We always believed in ourselves, in Monica’s work and in this three-year process,” said Gutierrez. “We might just end up winning this World Cup, you know.”

Jaidy Gutierrez of Mexico celebrates after making a save during a penalty shootout 

Gutierrez on goalkeeping

  • On why she chose to become a ‘keeper: “Up until I was 11, I was a bit of a jack-of-all-trades – I played wherever I was asked to play, especially at wing-back or in central defence. One day a local men’s team was missing their keeper, and as I wasn’t afraid of anything, I ended up between the sticks.”

  • Her strengths: “Playing with my feet and my composure.”

  • Who she admires: “In the women’s game, Cecilia Santiago; in the men’s game, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Claudio Bravo and Agustin Marchesin.”

Need to know

  • “I’m the daughter of Miguel Alejandro ‘Jalisco’ Gutierrez, a former professional footballer who played at centre-back.”

  • “Jana, my younger sister, is a defender, and was part of the provisional squad for this U-17 Women’s World Cup, but she wasn’t included in the final list.”

  • “I play for Club America.”

Her hobby

  • “I collect teddy bears – I must have about 70. My mum told me that if I get hold of one more, then it’s them or me...but I 've already bought the U-17 World Cup mascot!”