On Thursday the 18th of August I got the opportunity to watch a Women’s Super League match. The match was at Boreham Wood and featured Everton Ladies against Arsenal Ladies. The game was very entertaining and the Gunners ended up with a 1-0 victory.
Whilst watching the match it struck me how skilful the girls and the teams were. They moved the ball around very nicely and there were many times when the teams showed that their skill was of a very high quality. It showed that these girls are really able to play football and there were some very classy players on show for each team.
I got to see several of the players who were involved in the Women’s World Cup this year and although there weren’t many chances on goal it was easy to see why those players had been picked for the squad. One of the examples of this was when Everton’s keeper Rachel Brown came thundering off her line and slide-tackled Rachel Yankey outside of the box. It was perfectly timed and it showed that she is a very top keeper. Her kicking was also top notch – much like many men goalie’s she was kicking the ball over the halfway line and beyond.
I also got to see some of my female football heroes: Rachel Unitt, Jill Scott and Natasha Dowie who all play for Everton. It was great to see them on the ball and they all worked very hard in order to try to come out winners in the game. The Everton team were very unlucky in not gaining the points from the game as they truly deserved something from the game.
For me the women’s game has increased over the last year and it was fantastic to watch how these players played. Many of them had very strong headers out of defence and at times there were very physical battles between the players. There were some lovely pieces of counter-attacking football that was reminiscent of the style of how many mens teams use the counter-attacking moves in their game.
Along with this Sian Massey was the referee of the game. Many will remember her for the comments made by Andy Gray and Richard Keys. She showed why she is a very good referee; she kept a lid on the tackles and judged when there were incidents that were wrong she spoke to the players. With the news that Massey has been promoted to the select group of officials for the mens game it shows how far she has come and highlights the ability that she certainly has which will see her refereeing higher profile Premier League games and FA Cup games. This is truly deserved for Massey and no doubt we will see a lot of her this year in the Premier League.
This year saw the inception of the Women’s Super League, where eight teams would compete against each other for the chance of becoming the first winner of the WSL. This has allowed the womens game to come further forward than it has ever done before. There has traditionally been the Womens Premier League and each year it has followed a steady path of the same team coming out on top.
The Women’s Super League has been running from the end of April and throughout the summer so that it would not be conflicting with the mens games that are on during the regular season. In addition to this the fact that the women were playing regularly before the womens world cup reaped huge benefits for Hope Powell and her England squad. The players were fresh as they had been playing throughout these months. And it showed! Is this a way forward for the men’s game? To play a few games before the World Cup might benefit the players as they would be able to keep their fitness at high levels.
The WSL has aimed to change that and this year it has revealed that Birmingham have been able to challenge Arsenal at the top of the league. Although that changed last night with Arsenal running out as winners and leaves the last games of the season to decide whether it’s Arsenal or Birmingham who will be crowned inaugural winners of the first Women’s Super League.
Another positive about the Women’s Super League is the interaction of the players with the fans. The team’s stop and sign autographs for the fans and that is a great addition to the game. Many young girls would be delighted at getting the autographs of these players and this is an innovation where the people behind the WSL want to be different from the men’s game. I think this has been a great idea and I indeed did get a couple of autographs. That sort of interaction is great, could there be a way to integrate this into the men’s game? I know there is the shirt launches but could clubs introduce signing sessions like other sports such as Formula One does?
I also want to mention the Newcastle Women’s Football Club. The club was formed in 1989 and this was when the team began to play competitively. Not many people may know about Newcastle Ladies but they currently compete in the Northern Women’s Combination Football League, FA Women’s Premier League Reserve Division and the Northumbria FA Cup. The women’s game has begun growing increasingly over the past year or so, so why not make your way down to their home ground to watch them action? Their home ground is; Sports Development Centre, Coach Lane, Benton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7XA. Go down and support the Newcastle Women! You can follow them on Twitter @NUWFC.
It surprised me how skilful these players were and it was great to see them playing. I myself play football and think that the womens game should be promoted a lot more and that’s why I felt I would write a piece about it. It’s something that I am passionate about and I would like to raise the profile of the women’s game in any way that I can.
I would recommend that if you have a ladies Premier League team near you go and watch the match! You will be surprised at the skill that these ladies have and I am sure you will enjoy it.