The newly restructured FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL) will kick off an historic season on Sunday 9 September when it becomes fully professional for the first time.
The restructure of the top-flight of women’s football has included new licensing criteria for the eleven sides competing in The FA WSL, including all players throughout the league becoming full-time. The restructure of the league is a milestone for women’s football in Europe and The FA’s delivery of ‘The Gameplan for Growth’ which is aiming to double participation and the fan base of the women’s game by 2020.
To celebrate the start of the new FA WSL season and a landmark moment for women’s football, The FA has created a film that highlights its impact on a generation of girls who can now aspire to have a career in women’s football. Aspiring young footballers feature in the 60 second video alongside stars of the women’s game.
The FA’s Director of the Women’s Professional Game, Kelly Simmons said: “The start of a new fully professional top tier is a landmark moment for women’s football and integral to the future growth of the game, both on and off of the pitch. It is my hope that the move will launch domestic women’s football into becoming a mainstream sport, that millions of people up and down the country are connected with week in, week out.”
The launch of the new look FA WSL coincides with the unveiling of The FA WSL Academy programme, geared towards balancing a young female player’s football development with their educational aspirations. With the performance services of physical preparation, physiotherapy and lifestyle provision facilitated by the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme [TASS] in Higher Education locations, the Academy programme will support over 200 players aged 16-20.
Girls from the North London Pro:Direct Academy feature in the 60 second video alongside stars of the women’s game including Lionesses Fran Kirby and Jordan Nobbs.
The film celebrates what is a landmark moment for women’s football and the realisation that girls of all ages can now aspire to have a career in football.
Twelve year old Fahren who stars in the film thinks more girls will now know it is possible to become a footballer.
“I think the new FA WSL is really important and I loved being in the video. It means me and my friends can now dream of playing in a professional league, just like all of the boys our age who love football. “
Tyler, 17, thinks the new season will show young girls across the country and further afield that football can offer them a future.
“The league becoming fully professional has definitely made me believe I can have a future in the game and strive to become a professional.”
Eleven year old Lottie looks up to players like Rosie Kmita, who stars in the film, and plays for West Ham United Women, her favourite team.
“One day I’d like to follow in her footsteps and play for West Ham in the FA WSL. I’d like to be a footballer because I want to inspire other girls to work hard and follow their dreams.”
Kmita is looking forward to the start of the new season and believes it signals a change in the landscape for young female footballers.
“I came across a lot of doubters who said I wouldn’t be able to do this as a career, but now I can say to these girls, you can and you will, if you put your mind to it and believe in yourself.”
Arsenal and England midfielder, Jordan Nobbs echoed the sentiment of Kmita’s comments. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t follow your dream. I’ve had incredible support and constant encouragement from my friends and family and I’m now a professional footballer.”
The restructure of the league is a milestone for The FA’s delivery of ‘The Gameplan for Growth’ which is aiming to double participation and the fan base of the women’s game by 2020.
The league starts at 12.30pm on Sunday as Arsenal go head-to-head against Liverpool on the BBC Sport Red Button. At 2.00pm, last year’s FA WSL and SSE Women’s FA Cup winners Chelsea take on Manchester City live on BT Sport 3.
All of the opening weekend fixtures can be found here and games will be broadcast throughout the season on BT Sport, BBC and The FA WSL Facebook page. Tickets to all league games throughout the season are available here.
Courtesy of the FA via Pitch Marketing Group