Online Harassment Forces Camberos to Leave for US

Mexican-American soccer player Scarlett Camberos. Photo: Google


Club América Femenil of Mexico’s top professional soccer division Liga MX confirmed that Mexican-American forward Scarlett Camberos — who was a victim of online harassment during her tenure in the club — has signed with Los Angeles, California-based Angel City FC of the National Women’s Soccer League and will continue her professional career in the United States because “her safety in Mexico cannot be guaranteed.”

“In support of the request from our player Scarlett Camberos and in seeking to contribute to her psychological and emotional well-being, América and Angel City FC are in the process of reaching an agreement for her transfer,” América Femenil said in a press release on the night of Tuesday, March 21.

According to the Mexico City-based club, the alleged online harasser, only identified as Jose Andres N, threatened Camberos, and likewise hacked into her Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Representatives from the team said that despite taking all the legal actions available to them, the suspect was only sentenced by Mexican authorities to 36 hours of house arrest.

Camberos has been a victim of online harassment for more than a year, and although her case has recently drawn attention, she is not the only female Liga MX player to have suffered harassment online.

Selene Cortés, a player from C.F. Pachuca Femenil, said that she has likewise received inappropriate messages on her social media accounts.

“Things that for some people are ‘normal’ because we are public figures, they are definitely not normal,” wrote Cortés in her Instagram account, where she shared some screenshots of the inappropriate messages she received. “Let’s not wait for this to become ‘normal’ or wait for something drastic to happen for the authorities to dare to act.”

Cortés said she reported the online harassment she experienced, but there was no action by Mexican authorities.

“It’s very sad to read what happens to women, to soccer players in our country, and to think that most of us have suffered something similar,” wrote Pumas Femenil defender Deneva Cagigas on her Twitter account. “It doesn’t mean that because we are public figures, they (the harassers) have the right to cross the line. They have a mother or sisters, and I hope they never go through this kind of harassment.”

Club León Femenil’s Nailea Vidrio also experienced online harassment.

“They threatened me with death, and then deleted the messages,” Vidrio said in a video she shared on social media. “It is not something new, it has always been happening.

In January 2021, another Club América Femenil player, Jana Gutiérrez, received death threats prior to a match against Mazatlán.

The 22-year-old Camberos was born in Los Angeles to Mexican immigrants and began her soccer career with the UC Irvine Anteaters from 2018 to 2021. She scored 13 goals and dished out 7 assists in 22 appearances during her senior year, and bagged the Offensive Player of the Year award. She ended up signing her first professional contract with Club América Femenil on Dec. 30, 2021, and credits her father’s lifelong fandom for Club América in her decision to sign a contract with the team.

Camberos has also represented the Mexican Women’s National Team, and was first selected on Aug. 25, 2022, for a friendly against Angel City FC, and also played against the New Zealand Women’s National Soccer Team in September of last year. She made her debut for Mexico in the match against New Zealand, and scored her first goal with the team in the match against Angel City FC.

Several Mexican soccer fans showed support for Camberos during the “El Clasico” match between América and Chivas. “No more harassment for women soccer players,” “You are not alone, Scarlett” and “Justice for Scarlett” were just some of the signs held aloft by fans who watched the game in América’s home stadium, Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca.

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