'I was outraged by the lack of respect' -- The female footballers who fought for change in South America

    Chile celebrates qualification to its first ever Women's World Cup.

    (CNN)They hadn't stepped foot onto a football pitch for more than two years -- 981 days to be exact -- but Chile's national team made quite an impact on its return.

    The match had barely been advertised, not in the media nor by the country's football federation, but still more than 10,000 fans turned up at Santiago's Estadio Nacional to watch them beat Peru 12-0.
    This, of course, was not the men's national team but the women's, a team which had endured years in the wilderness under the country's football association (ANFP).
      Such was the neglect of women's football in the country, an all too familiar feature across South America, Chile had been removed entirely from FIFA's world rankings for being "inactive".
      This was caused by a combination of the ANFP's then-president Sergio Jadue being implicated in the FIFA corruption scandal -- for his part, he pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy -- and ingrained societal sexism.
      "It made me mad," Iona Rothfeld, who played for the national team at the time, told CNN. "But it mainly made me sad, because we fought for that ranking. I know all the effort that we made and my teammates made before me and after me."

      I was outraged not with the lack of opportunity, but it was the lack of respect shown to women soccer players.

      Iona Rothfeld
      But Chile wasn't alone. By 2016, more than half of the continent's 10 national teams had been given "inactive" status by the sport's governing body.
      The match in May 2017 not only revealed the national team had a naturally gifted squad which could thrive given adequate resources and support, but that a