On Sunday evening I often play football with my other half and lots of other men. They have always been very welcoming even though I am the only girl there, but it is just a kick about. There have been a few funny looks, or maybe more confused looks, but once the game begins they soon see I am capable of kicking a ball and pass to me as they would anyone else. However on Sunday, a couple of blokes questioned “Who is that, she must have the wrong place?” My boyfriend flatly told them I was with him, and once the game began I scored which soon shut them up.
It is a sad situation where some still have an inferior view of women’s football. All you have to do is search Twitter and you will find plenty of derogatory comments. This is one of my favourites from last week (I have blanked out his name and Twitter handle):
Thats @FA unfollowed purposely retweeting stuff about womens football, winding every male football fan in the land up #disgrace#monkeytennis
Indeed, how dare the FA even mention Women’s football- a sport which has thousands of women and girls across the country playing every week! The FA was in fact tweeting details of the new Women’s Super League (WSL) starting this week. This is the elite tier of Women’s Football in the UK. There is WSL1 and now WSL 2 with relegation and promotion between the two. These leagues play over the summer months. Under this are the Regional Premier Leagues, North and South respectively. I have been involved with this through my club Keynsham Town, who also have a Development team in the league below the Premier League in the Combination League which I play in regularly. Below this you have regional leagues, and then county. As you can see, this set up is developing to make the system more professional, and some teams in the WSL are now paid and full time. Comments like the aforementioned are petty and ill educated. Has Chris ever seen a Women’s Super League match? For £5 he could go and watch Bristol City Ladies play Liverpool, the current WSL Champions. On display he will see some of England’s finest players as well as other internationals. He will see how fit they are, how disciplined they are and also the level they play at. I guarantee you that they are better at football than he is!
This is a really exciting time for Women’s Football in the UK. We are striving to reach the levels of professionalism in America, where Women’s Football is more popular than men, and thousands flock to stadia to see teams like Boston Breakers.
Boston Breakers, one of the most famous Women’s teams in the world.
I watched the England Women’s World Cup Qualifier last week where we thrashed Montenegro 9.0! They are still a country developing the Women’s game. It was great to see this game on the BBC, but not once did I see it trailed. Also, the pundits were quite poor. Jacqui Oatley did a great job anchoring, but they had a couple of Women Players who were a little sub-standard it felt with little media training. A big plus point was Johnathan Pearce’s fantastic commentary, and it is a credit to the BBC to have him covering these games.
When I grew up you had no choice but to play with boys. I was as good as any of them, and trailed miles to play. However, the manager never picked me except once, and I scored 2 goals in the first half. He took me off in the second! There is no easy way to change attitudes to girls and women in football, the best thing we can all do is go out, play, enjoy it and show everyone the talent around. Girls today have brilliant facilities and the FA truly investing in the future of Women’s Football, we just need a bit more publicity too.
The Women’s Super Leagues begin this week, and hopefully they will receive some publicity to boost awareness of how great the Women’s game can be.