ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Mexican soccer federation has teamed up with several first division teams to launch what will be the country’s first women’s league in a professional sport that has traditionally been played by and for men.

The new league, which will start in April, will be fielded only by Mexican women under the age of 23. The idea is to develop local talent and also strengthen the women's national soccer team.

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The professional league will build on the success of the women's amateur league, which started last year.

The Mexican soccer federation has made previous attempts to include women in the men's league, but not with good results.

In 2004 Virginia Tovar made history as the first female referee in a Mexican first division game between Irapuato and América. Many of the players bombarded her with sexist comments, and former national team soccer star Cuauhtémoc Blanco told her to “go home and wash the dishes.”

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But times are changing and now Mexicans are praising the new women's league, although issues like a wage gap between male and female players have yet to arise. This game is just getting started.

"At last one of the best initiatives by the Mexican Soccer Federation is announced, one more step for women's soccer in Mexico."

"I'm delighted to see all the effort was worth it and that each day we have more opportunities to continue growing."

"There's the first step, now its up to us fans to help this progress."

"You have no idea how excited I am right now."

"Applause for the Mexican Soccer Federation for the new women's league, it was time to give importance to the girls, now we need to polish the details."

"Pumas will have a team in the new women's league in 2017."

"The women's league is announced, a historic day. Let's hope that it has support from the directives and the interest of sponsors and fans."