Yesterday’s Championship play-off final which saw Charlton Athletic WFC of the Southern Division beat Blackburn Rovers LFC of the Northern Division 2-1 was the last match ever to be played under the FA Women’s Premier League banner.
The FAWPL which has been in existence for over a quarter of a century will from next season become the FA Women’s National League (North & South), as part of the restructuring and rebrand of the Women’s game nationally.
The pyramid system will see the full time elite clubs like Fran Kirby’s Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool amongst others compete in the FA WSL.
The 2nd tier is the newly named FA Women’s Championship and will feature teams such as the famous women’s sides Doncaster Rovers Belles, Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Sheffield United Ladies, newly promoted Charlton Athletic Women and the newly formed Manchester United Women, who as reports suggest will be coached by Liverpool & England legend Casey Stoney.
Stoney will combine her club commitments with her current role as Phil Neville’s assistant with the England National team, if she takes the Man United job.
Hull City Ladies will take their place in the newly named FA Women’s National League (Northern Premier Division) alongside some famous footballing names. Blackburn Rovers who narrowly lost out on promotion again, have won the FA WPL Northern Division for the last two seasons and are the dominant team at this level. Other sides in the division include Leicester City Women, Middlesborough Women, Stoke City Ladies and Nottingham Forest Ladies who have recently come under the umbrella of the men’s set up and will have significant funding to help their cause.
The Women’s game in this country has exploded in popularity over the last few years and the FA are hoping that the re-structuring of the the competition will have an even more positive impact on the women’s game from the elite WSL all the way down to the grassroots level.
Participation at junior and kids level is rising year on year and clubs like Hull City Ladies are working closely with local schools etc to encourage the youngsters of today to emulate the likes of Jo Symington, Hope Knight, Sophie Stamp etc etc and become part of the Tigress squad in later years and become the next Fran Kirby or Sam Kerr and dominate the game on a World level.
It is exciting but challenging times ahead for Women’s football as a whole and locally.
Everyone involved with Hull City Ladies are striving to be in the elite of English Women’s football within the next few years and will leave no stone unturned to make sure this happens.
To be a success the Tigresses need the local sporting and business community to become part of the Tigress family so they can take the next giant leap sooner rather than later.
If there are any individuals or companies out there who want to join the family there will be various sponsorship and advertising opportunities for the upcoming season and beyond to help the Tigresses move onwards and upwards.