Swieqi United women’s team were among the most active sides during the winter transfer window, bringing three new foreigners to bolster their squad ahead of the second part of the 2021/2022 MFA Women’s League.
The three players brought in by the Oranges were forwards Fernanda Peinado from Brazil and American-born Alexis Espitia. They were joined by former Venezuela U-20 Rafanny Mendoza, whose role is in the defensive department.
Espitia, 22, got the ground running quickly at the club and managed to chalk up her first Swieqi goal during last week’s crucial 3-2 victory against second-place Mġarr United.
In this week’s fixtures, Swieqi will conclude round two of this championship with a stern test as they will take on league leaders Birkirkara – the only unbeaten team this season.
“I am very happy with scoring that goal,” Espitia told the Times of Malta.
“It’s always nice scoring early as it allows for a bit of a cushion. Coming to the Birkirkara game, I know what I need to do to benefit my team so in these practices leading up to it I am focused on making sure I am doing those points well.”
Her commitment to the Swieqi cause is reflected in her words and in fact, Espitia describes herself as a hardworking, motivated and dedicated person.
For the American forward, this is her first spell in European football having been involved in the college circuit back in the United States.
Playing with Sonoma Seawolves from the Sonoma State University, Espitia made a name for herself in particular during the 2019 season when she scored 9 goals and grabbed two assists in 18 games.
Prior to that, she had scored 11 goals and recorded 4 assists in 40 games with the same team.
“My transfer to Malta has been very smooth,” Espitia, who is assisted by Clava Sports Consult, underlined.
“The team and staff have helped me tremendously since being here.
While in Malta, all I am focused on is football as I will finish my last semester of school when I am back in the United States.”
The three points against Mġarr enabled Swieqi to move three points closer to the Greens, as they look to lift themselves into the top two spots of the championship.
The Oranges were at the back of a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Raiders and the Mġarr result has surely injected a lot of confidence inside the environment.
Espitia pointed out that she is working hard in order to integrate as quickly as possible to Swieqi’s playing style, something that was clearly reflected in her latest displays against Raiders and Mġarr.
“I think I am integrating well at Swieqi United,” the American forward said.
“Everyday I am working hard on learning their style of play and improving as a player.
I think this transfer was a great fit as the team is hardworking, accepting and committed.”
In addition, Espitia also heaped praise on the positive environment at the club, describing her team mates as ‘hardworking and striving to be the best’.
Asked about any comparison with the playing style she was used to in the college system and the Maltese game, Espitia pointed out that both leagues are similar as the speed of play is fast. A characteristic that will surely suit Espitia’s playing style given speed is one of her key features.
Meanwhile, playing in the Maltese championship will serve Espitia to gain more exposure at international level as well.
Born in the United States, Espitia is not only eligible for the four-time Women’s World Cup winners but also for three other Concacaf sides – Mexico, Puerto Rico and El Salvador.
“I am Mexican, Puerto Rican and Salvadorian but was born in America,” Espitia said.
“Last I heard is I would be able to play for one of those national teams as I have had family born there so I have ties.
I would be very proud to be able to support and represent any of those national teams. That would be a dream come true if I get the chance to play on the international stage.”
THIS WEEK’S FIXTURES
TUESDAY – 20.30
San Ġwann vs Mġarr United, Mġarr Ground
Kirkop United vs Raiders Lija, Centenary Stadium
WEDNESDAY – 20.30
Swieqi United vs Birkirkara, Centenary Stadium
MD14 bye: Mtarfa.