With the Women’s World Cup now just a matter of weeks away, where England travel to France as one of the favourites, it will come as music to the ears of many to know that the game is finally starting to grab people’s attention in the way that it always should have.
A huge number of clubs are now benefiting from an increase in interest surrounding female participation in football, with the sport only set to go from strength to strength. England kick-off their World Cup campaign against neighbours Scotland on the 9th June, with the Lionesses currently being found at No.3 in the world rankings. Whilst a World Cup win for Phil Neville’s side would be of huge significance on a variety of levels, the fact that anticipation is high surrounding the tournament demonstrates just how far things have come, from grassroots to the professional scene.
How Women's Football Has Increased in Popularity
The FA is currently two years into their four-year Gameplan For Growth scheme revolving around the women’s game, with one of the main aims having been to double the number of girls participating in football by July 2020. While there is still a long way to go in achieving such an objective, the right steps are certainly being taken, with girls now constantly moving the goalposts. So, just how far can the women’s game actually go?
More and more girls now have the opportunity to get involved in football, however it is still something of a lottery when it comes to whether females are able to either play at school or with a local club. As a result, the FA is working hard to access to the game at all levels, regardless of gender or age. Getting football into girl’s schools is still a major issue, with many still favouring either netball or hockey.
Cash Injection in the Women's Game
However, a significant amount of money is now being spent on enhancing chances for young girls, while the recently formed Women’s Super League in England is only likely to help. From September 2019, 100 football school partnerships will be introduced in over 6,000 schools across England, the majority of which will be primaries. Meanwhile, the School Sport Action Plan will also be unveiled in 2019, which will aim to increase opportunities for exercise in schools. For those looking for more information surrounding girls football in schools, check out this article from our Portal.
England still lag behind some of their rivals when it comes to the attendances of professional women’s matches, with the average sitting at around just 1,000 over recent years. While there has been calls for Premier League clubs to allow access to their stadiums, at present this appears to be unlikely across the board due to a lack of demand. However, an interesting idea that has been raised is the idea of a “double header” where a women’s match would take place immediately before or after a men’s encounter.
Coaches, parents and volunteers up and down the country are certainly doing their best to help raise the profile of women’s football, however there is certainly still a long way to go. Talking of such individuals, for those involved in girl's football, did you know that Spond can save you two hours per week in terms of communicating with others. However, it is not just a problem in England, with 2019 Women’s Player of the Year Ada Hegerberg having recently refused to play for the Norwegian national team due to a lack of attention from the NFF. One of the main issues is that many still regard football as a mans game. However, with the recent success of the English national team and the rise of the WSL, things do appear to be heading in the right direction.
Parents and guardians considering getting their children involved in sport should certainly be encouraged by a recent study, which found that kids who engage in organised physical activity from a young age are less likely to suffer from emotional difficulties later on in life.
An increasing number of students now partake in sporting action, whether it be through their school or a local club. Such involvement requires a fair amount of commitment from youngsters, however the rewards in which individuals receive from spending with their favourite coach can often aid their progression in other areas of life, including with their studies.
Sport is an excellent tool for teaching kids life skills including teamwork and communication, whilst it also improves athleticism and health. However, despite such benefits, it has perhaps come too easy for those involved in youth sport to forget just why children are taking part in the first place. So, has youth sport become to competitive?