Ask me about my interest in football or what team I supported one year ago and my reply would have been “eh no, not for me”. A big U-turn from the 8-year-old who was the only girl on the boys’ team and from the girl who scored the winning penalty in a cup final. So what happened?
I grew up and went to high school where I was fashioned to think football was for boys. Boys had the Panini sticker books, boys played for the school teams and boys played in the playground at lunch. Football wasn’t for girls. Later on my idea of football was being dragged by my boyfriend to the pub to watch games he just couldn’t miss. Usually the deal was if we spend an hour in Zara can we spend an hour watching this game…a fair deal?
Ask me about my interest in football or which team I support now and I will undoubtedly talk your ear off about women’s football and how amazing it is. I don’t just support one team, I support the whole women’s football movement – everything it represents and all the people I have met along the way. Everyone always asks which women’s team I support but how could I possibly pick one team when I’ve met so many incredible players from a whole host of clubs?
Working in women’s football was never something I set out to do, but now I love my job because of the work that I get to do promoting the women’s game for The FA. Even in the short year that I’ve been working with The FA I have witnessed huge growth in the game and been part of some watershed moments.
Women’s football is giving young girls and women a platform to be heard, to be ballsy and to compete in what was seen as a, ‘man’s world’. This year there has been a number of great examples to illustrate how the growing support for the women’s game is having a huge impact. Everton Football Club unveiled their new 2018/19 away kit in a campaign fronted by the Everton Ladies team. Alex Scott made history as the first ever female pundit on TV. There was a record attendance at this year’s SSE Women’s FA Cup Final which attracted a bumper crowd of 45,423 people at Wembley Stadium, something I worked towards.
As an agency, we have just finished the season launch of the newly structured FA Women’s Super League as it becomes fully professional for the first time. Before this, many of the girls were balancing multiple jobs and dedicating their spare time to training and games. The launch was a revolutionary moment for the league and the many players who had grown up dreaming of becoming a pro footballer. Ask many young boys what they want to be when they grow up and you will always hear, a footballer, the next Ronaldo or Messi, but girls now get to share this dream of becoming the next Alex Scott or Steph Houghton. They now have something and someone to aspire to.
What’s different about the women’s game is that it’s not just a club or team community, it’s a whole women’s football community. Everyone is working together to achieve one goal – to grow the game, and I love being part of it.
To check out our FA WSL season launch video click here and watch this space for many more exciting things to come in women’s football this season…