For those who have dedicated themselves to the success of women’s football, the most important battle has already been won. The social stigma attached to girls playing the game, the discrimination, the derision, was removed years ago. But the fight is not over and here comes the even harder bit. For all the advances made, the success of the England team in reaching the semi-finals of both the World Cup and the European Championships, the leap in participation numbers and steady growth of a supporter base, women’s football remains, in many ways, a minority sport. That needs to change and Kelly Simmons, the Football Association’s new Director of Women’s Football, is leading the charge to break into the mainstream. This weekend will see the start of a new Super League season and for the first time all 11 teams (as well as Manchester United in the second tier) are full-time, professional operations. It is a significant moment, which, along with the creation of dedicated Academy structures, is designed to ensure football is as realistic a career choice for female players as it is for men. That is only part of the struggle. With average crowds in the WSL hovering around… Read full this story
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