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LIONESS LEGACY: Exclusive interview with Garston Ladies on the evolution of women’s football

 Published on: 2nd August 2022   |   By: Darius Morgan   |   Category: Garston Ladies

Following the Lionesses roaring success in the Euros this year, My Local News spoke to Steve Thomas, Football Development Officer of Garston Ladies FC, to discuss the evolving landscape of women’s football.

My Local News: “What is the current state of girls’ grassroots football, what things are being done right and what could be changed for the better moving forward?”

Steve Thomas: “Girls grassroots football is in a good state.  Participation numbers rise year on year, however, the access to football drops significantly between primary and secondary schools which needs to be addressed in order to maintain the participation levels.”

MLN: “Has there been an upturn in interest in football from young girls in recent years?”

ST: “Since the London Olympics in 2012 and the FA programs like This Girl Can and the FA Wildcats we have seen a steady flow of young girls coming to the club and we are proud to say that well over 60% of our current senior setup are products of our junior programme.”

MLN: “What impact do you envisage England’s Euros triumph having?”

ST: “Girls now have visible pathways to a career in football, not just playing but also now that they can have more female role models in the coaching, support staff and officials.  We truly welcome the impact of increased participation, understanding and recognition of the women’s game along with the rise in England shirt sales with new household names like Stanway, Williamson, Toone, Russo and Mead on the back.”

MLN: “In your experience, do you believe there is a lingering prejudice against women’s football? How are attitudes changing?”

ST: “Yes, there has been a lingering prejudice, however, those that truly know the game will see similarities between the male and female game. For example, formations, style of play and IQ are comparable but the player-fan relationship is the true difference between men’s and women’s football.  This tournament has shone a light on the women’s game and the increased promotion of WSL, televised games on terrestrial TV and continued support from prominent sporting figures is key.”

ST: “Just think that 100 years ago women were banned from playing football as it was deemed to be ‘unsuitable for females and should not be encouraged’. Absolutely crazy!”

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