The top-tier of Women’s professional football returns to England this Saturday, where many of the Lionesses will be fighting for the title with their clubs. Here’s the lowdown!
BY ANNIE CALLAHAN, IMAGE VIA INSTAGRAM (@LIONESSES)
Women’s football is on FIRE! Following the success of the Lionesses this summer, women’s football has been catapulted into the spotlight. It’s finally home! International women’s football has never seen such support in this country, with a record crowd of 87,192 in attendance for the Wembley final against Germany and a further 17 million watching at home.
Of the 23-woman England Euro 2022 squad, 19 play for clubs in the Women’s Super League (WSL) – the top-flight and only fully-professional Women’s football league in England. The WSL returns this Saturday, with Tottenham hosting Manchester United in the first game of the season.
The WSL was established in 2010, only becoming fully professional for the 2018-19 season. The league now features 12 teams, and current title-holders Chelsea have won 5 out of the last 6 titles.
Much like the men’s Premier League, the WSL takes place over a season from September to May, with each team meeting twice – home and away.
Following the visibility surrounding women’s football at the Euros, there’s been a huge surge in ticket sales for the WSL. Arsenal has confirmed that 40,000+ tickets have been sold for the hotly-contested North London Derby against Spurs in later this month at the iconic Emirates Stadium.
Far from the huge stadiums we’re used to seeing in men’s football, until recently most WSL clubs have played at much smaller grounds. With growing interest in women’s football, that looks set to change. Arsenal has confirmed all of their Champions League fixtures and at least three WSL fixtures will be hosted at the 60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium. Arsenal Women previously played all their home fixtures at Meadow Park in Borehamwood, a 4500 capacity ground they share with Boreham Wood FC.
Where can I watch the WSL?
All of the WSL games and highlights are available to watch on The FA Player for free. The app also features content from the Lionesses, the women’s second-tier Championship games and the Women’s FA Cup and League Cup matches.
Which Lionesses are playing in the WSL?
All but four of the Lionesses Euro 2022 squad will feature in this season’s WSL. Manchester City legends Jill Scott and Ellen White announced their retirement after the Euros, and Lucy Bronze and Georgia Stenway play overseas for Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively. Here’s the WSL clubs you can see your favourite Lionesses play for:
Arsenal: Beth Mead, Leah Williamson, Nikita Parris, Lotte Wubben-Moy
Chelsea: Millie Bright, Fran Kirby, Bethany England, Jess Carter
Manchester City: Alex Greenwood, Keira Walsh, Demi Stokes, Laura Hemp, Chloe Kelly, Ellie Roebuck
Manchester United: Alessia Russo, Ella Toone, Mary Earps
Aston Villa: Rachel Daly, Hannah Hampton
The WSL kicks off this weekend. Tottenham take on Alessia Russo’s Manchester United, title-holders Chelsea play at home to West Ham, and England legends Beth Mead and Alex Greenwood go head-to-head as Arsenal host Manchester City.
Hold onto your hats, the most-watched season of women’s football is coming!
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