It’s not women’s football, it’s football played by women

Whatever happens this evening in the semi-final between England and Sweden, one thing’s for sure. Football played by women is here to stay. Stanway, Russo, White, Bronze… they’ve all made us rightly proud, not just by the way they play the beautiful game but also the inspiration they provide to young girls and boys around the country.

It’s not long ago that women’s football was seen as niche. Part-timers rocking up to muddy second division pitches, with basic dressing room facilities. Crowds were small and leagues and cups received little or no coverage in the media, despite the on-going success of women’s football, especially in the United States.

Things have changed. As the Lionesses have grown in stature, so has the popularity of the game. Girls football at junior level is now on a par with boys in the popularity stakes. Community Clubs, like London Football School, managed by ex-Arsenal and England International Ellen Maggs hosts girls’ teams from under 9 – under 16, with many girls now training with Watford FC.

And there are other trail blazers in the field of women’s football. The inspirational Maggie Murphy, CEO of Lewes FC, a community run football club and partner of Equal Playing Field that promotes opportunity, equality and respect for girls playing sport anywhere, and Laura Youngston of IDA Sports who make shoes designed for women’s feet!

So good luck to the Lionesses tonight. Everyone at LLC will be cheering you on.