WSL and the women’s game.

The WSL will be broadcasted by Sky Sports from 2021 to 2024, hopefully this is a catalyst for future improvement and change.

Recently, Sky Sports have announced that they will broadcast the WSL (Women’s Super League) from the 2021/22 season. ‘Sky sports will show at least 35 WSL games exclusively live; covering the next three seasons from September 2021 and the league will be added to Sky Sports’ flagship offerings’. In the present moment, this particular league can be accessed by viewers on The FA Player, BT Sport and the BBC Red Button. Thus, with the addition of Sky Sports more interest will be placed on the women’s game and this is very beneficial in making the game increase in its diversity. This deal has cost £7-8m, money well spent in my eyes.

What is the WSL?

The WSL (Women’s super league) is the highest football league of the women’s game. It was established in 2010, by the FA and currently holds 12 teams. It took time for this division to grow, after taking over from the Women’s Premier League National Division, as there were initially only eight teams involved with no relegation/promotion system put in place. Also, there was a difference in when the fixtures ran in comparison to the men’s game. The WSL initially only operated through March until October, completely discarding the winter football season. This changed, to suit what was traditional prior to 2011, and the league was played through September until May from 2017-18. A promotion and relegation system is now in play and the level of quality seen has improved also, with Arsenal and Chelsea being awarded with 3 titles each thus far. 

The best WSL grounds:

As the quality and playing systems have improved, so has the facilities and talent on show. All talent is aided by top coaches and managers, which certainly leaves something to look out for if you’re planning on watching a WSL game. 

The biggest ground used for this division is Reading’s as the women’s team play at Reading’s stadium, the Madjeski which holds 24,161. Another professional stadium is used as Villa play at Walsall’s Bescot Stadium, holding 11,000. There are plenty of other men’s grounds which are put to use however the majority are non-league, such as Arsenal’s as Boreham Wood’s ground is used. With the growth of the women’s game, the WSL being broadcasted by Sky Sports etc, hopefully the game generates more supporters and people who are interested in the future the attendances will grow etc. 

The best WSL managers:

Recently, AFC Wimbledon sacked their manager. There were growing rumours that Chelsea’s Emma Hayes would take over at Kingsmeadow, people said that this would be great as she would become the first female gaffer in the men’s game. Others criticised, saying that she wouldn’t be able to hold the players interest. I disagree with this as she has played a great part in the WSL Club with 3 titles to their name. However, we will never know the true outcome as she shut all rumours down stating that her team had world class talent who she loved coaching and wanted to stay in the role. 

Other WSL managers include Brighton’s Hope Powell, who managed the England women’s team for 15 years between 1998 and 2013, and Manchester United’s Casey Stoney.

The best WSL players:

There will be great talent on display on Sky Sports and other broadcasting services. However, one player that I’ll be intrigued and excited with seeing is Arsenal’s forward Vivianne Miedema who signed for the Gunners from Bayern Munich in 2017. She’s 24 and has scored 56 goals in 61 games in her time in North London so far. It isn’t just up top that there is quality in the women’s game, though, Manchester City’s goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck was the best performing shot stopper across 2020 with the use of Quantitative data analysis. Arsenal’s Manuela Zinsberger follows her in second, with a ‘Carteret rating’ of 215.4. England captain Steph Houghton also competes in the WSL, for Manchester City.

I thought it would give this write up an extra edge if I spoke to two women who are invested in the sport, whether that be the women’s game or not. It just adds to the meaning that football is a game for everyone. 

Those interviews can be found by clicking the links below.

Thank you very much for reading,

Whether you look forward to watching more of the WSL or not I hope this article and the interviews attached have made you more informed about the women’s game,

Ethan Hoijord.

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