Football - the beautiful game, thrives on emotion more than any other sport. The fans, the chants in packed stadiums which is missed more than any other thing amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the celebrations of a late winner define the emotion in football.
Moreso, when we watch our favourite icons take the pitch and produce world class performances. Be it a league match, or a tournament final; be it a Mario Gotze volley in the 2014 World Cup final, or a crucial penalty from Megan Rapinoe in the 2019 World Cup final; be it a win, or a loss, the emotions keep us going.
And that emotion can multiply when not only men, but also women have the stage to showcase their domination in world football.
In the contemporary world, where football fans only remember the likes of Pele, Diego Maradona, and not Mia Hamm or Michelle Akers, Victoire Cogevina is on a mission to establish gender equality through a football scouting application - Gloria.
And her vision is simple: The day we are called athletes, not female athletes, that is the day I win.
Gloria - a global football scouting application, where everyone can showcase their talent and get a chance to have a pro career without worrying about heavy expenditure or the corruption in the football scouting system.
Born as a scouting platform, Gloria aims to become the social media of football in the near future.
Users can upload their football videos where due exposure will be given to promising players as Gloria has partnered with professional leagues and federations.
Speaking to The Free Press Journal's Husain Rizvi, Cogevina shares details about her journey, the obstacles she has faced to continue accomplishing her mission.
Cogevina, who grew up in Argentina and Greece, is a huge football fan. "But unfortunately, because of my gender, I could not become a part of it," said Cogevina, elaborating her vision.
"Years later, I moved to the United States and here football is a women's sport. The national team has won four World Cups, most girls in high school would play the sport. I found it very interesting because in rest of the world, that is not true because soccer has been a sport that has been exclusive to men, whether it is the players or the fans."
Cogevina, who co-founded SRAllStars, the first all-women football agency added: "As I started representing male players and understood how the whole business worked, I became interested in women's side of football as things like equal pay had surfaced across the world."
Cogevina has had the honour of speaking to Rapinoe, Alex Morgan among many others, and she is delighted that they share the same vision.
"At the end of the day it is all about how much talented you are, not not what gender you are, or how much money you have in your bank account," she said adding that football will become bigger than we can imagine if more women are invited to the sport because "women want to see women play."
Cogevina has faced many challenges while developing Gloria but it has all been 'worth it'.
"We as a company wanted to bring in really good investors and people who had been a part of Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and Reddit, because even though Gloria is a football centric app, it is a consumer product," she said adding that Gloria needed good investors and technical team to help reach millions of football fans across the world.
And, she calls herself 'lucky' to have found Matias Castello, the co-founder and the head of product and technology for Gloria.
Like many others, Cogevina believes technology plays an important role in the present and a much more important role in the future. She cited the example of the youth whose online presence is way more than the previous generation. In the future, many great talented players will be discovered online and Cogevina seized the opportunity to develop the online platform for football.
Gloria, which is currently only on iOS, will allow players to add age, height, weight, position, and stats to their base profile.
A web platform will be used by federation, leagues and different clubs. They will have access to a search function which will help them find a player according to their need.
However, aspiring players will need to subscribe to Gloria in order to upload a video on the platform. The app will be available to men and women between the ages of 10 and 35.
Cogevina and Co are planning to add three 'big buckets' of innovation to Gloria, which is basically 'TikTok' of football. "The first bucket is the Discovery tab which can provide content to users based on their preferences to build a mutual understanding and connection between us and the consumers. That connection will help us build loyalty faster than anything else," Cogevina said.
"The second and third buckets center around utility. We want to provide users with more content creator tools which include a photo and video editor built within the app to help them make the perfect videos and showcase their talent."
Cogevina aims to build a football community through Gloria. "It will be a way for consumers to interact on the platform," she said adding that the idea of Gloria community is to have sub-communities on the app for all forms of football. "If you are a Messi fan, then you can be a part of the Messi community where you can learn a ton from and about him."
Cogevina believes technology is a great tool for accountability. "I am a big believer than the future of football is brighter than it's ever been before. The pandemic has accelerated trends that will make corruption very hard in the future. I am referring purely to the use of technology at every level of the sport - from finding young players, all the way to properly selling the rights to matches that are viewed by billions," she said.
"It's time for this industry to strive on the right side of history."
Cogevina wants to bring Gloria to many countries, with India being on her list. She believes football can be a bigger sport in a nation where cricket is already a dominant force. "I absolutely think there is a good chance football becomes bigger than cricket in India. For starters football is a much more accessible sport for people than cricket - you only need a ball and an open space to play," she said.
"Having said that, lots of things need to happen; India has to qualify and play a World Cup for the first time in history, as well as continue to develop the local league's competitiveness and viewership by finding and training world class athletes. There is a big opportunity for women too!
"Mathematically speaking, there is a good chance there are more than 11 incredibly talented male and female footballers living in India right now. All we need to do is find them, and Gloria can help!"
Cogevina also explained why she chose the name Gloria. It is inspired from a Spanish phrase ‘La gloria de fútbol’ which translates to ‘The glory of soccer’. And, it is also a women name.
Lastly, Cogevina, despite living in the United States where the beautiful game is called 'soccer', believes 'football' is the right term for the sport!
The Free Press Journal readers can skip the Gloria waiting list by writing an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not forget to provide our reference!