Two years ago Dash forward Paulina Gramaglia was living and playing soccer in her hometown of Cordoba, Argentina. At 17, Gramaglia moved more than 400 miles away from her family to the national capital of Buenos Aires to begin her journey as a professional athlete. Less than a year after her jump into the professional ranks, Gramaglia found herself on the precipice of another life-changing move.
“I moved to Buenos Aires where all the top division teams are located at the end of 2020,” Gramaglia said. “It was an important move for me and started my journey into the professional realm with all the responsibilities that making a move like that entails.”
Gramaglia says the year in Buenos Aires was crucial to her development as both a professional athlete and as in an individual. She also pinpoints this time in her career as the catalyst that led her to where she is now. While playing with Club Deportivo UAI Urquiza, a club in the top division of women’s soccer in Argentina, Gramaglia was studying Kinesiology at a university in the capital.
Despite only turning pro a few years ago, Gramaglia has represented the Argentinian Women’s National Team at three different levels since 2019. Last November, Gramaglia made her senior Argentina WNT debut in a friendly against Ecuador.
In December of 2021, Dash head coach James Clarkson made a call that would alter Gramaglia’s life sending her to United States. Houston acquired Gramaglia on loan for the 2022 NWSL season. After arriving in Houston and officially integrating with the Dash Gramaglia was once again learning how to be a pro while also adapting to life in a different country.
“This change, much like the first one, was important.” Gramaglia said. “It meant leaving my country and going to such an important league like the NWSL. It was an opportunity that I had to take advantage of. I decided to go with everything that it implied despite being young and going to another country, one with a different language.”
Gramaglia knows that as one of the few players to come to the United States and play from Argentina there will be some pressure to succeed, however she’s seeing it as a way to create visibility and also learn from some, what she believes, are some of the most talented players in the entire world.
“I am really happy, and excited to have the opportunity to have top-tier teammates,” Gramaglia said.
Earlier this month, Gramaglia returned to Argentina to join the U-20 Women’s National team for the South American U-20 Women’s Championship in Chile. Argentina currently stands at the top at Group A with a crucial match against Venezuela on April 14, in hopes of advancing to the knockout stage of the tournament. Gramaglia made her U-20 debut against the host nation on April 6 and scored her first goal at the U-20 level against Peru.
“We didn’t have a lot of time together as a team to practice, its only going to be three weeks since we’ve been together,” Gramaglia said. “With each game we keep growing which has been really important. We have an important game coming up, that result will determine if we’re going to the next round.”