Manchester City Women’s Football
Release Date : 04-Jan-2016 | Name : | Category : Football/Soccer
Author : Myak Homberger
Women’s Football has been growing for years, with this year seeing a major jump in the stakes and participation around the world with England leading the charge at club level. Not only were there major player moves around clubs that levelled the field and has created an exciting season, but many players and clubs are going to full-time contracts. Given that women’s Football was the first women’s sport I was introduced to more than fifteen years ago it holds a special place for me.
One of the key stories from last season was the announcement that Manchester City would be playing in the FAWSL 1 this season. As a result a significant amount was written about it and a great deal of social media taken up with people voicing various opinions about it. Given that we cover a lot of Football I wanted to find out straight away what their plans were, what their vision was for the women’s team and what their motivation for doing it was. As a result, I can now provide something of an insight into Manchester City and their vision for Women’s Football.
Manchester City Football Club has always been committed to sharing its football resources and coaching capabilities across a wide range of ages and abilities. In keeping with this, they are building on the hard work of MCLFC and helping them to develop. Running alongside this the award-winning City in the Community programme will be expanded.
Listening to people talk about MCFC’s foundation City in the Community, it’s very obvious that this is more than a ‘kick about’ or an after school club. They are passionate about providing as many opportunities for young girls in the local community as they can and are pushing to get many more girls active. City in the Community are committed to creating pathways for girls and the programme is now vast with the following:
Women and Girls Football Programme:
This programme started in September 2013 and runs for 30 weeks of the year. It was funded by the Premier League and the FA. The programme involved reaching out to 180 girls in Manchester through 11 satellite sessions with clubs per week. In total 330 sessions were delivered by CITC.
FA Girls’ Player Development Centre
This programme started in September 2013 and ran for 30 weeks. This involves working with three teams: u11s, u13s and u15s.
Play the Game: Girls’ session
This programme was launched in April and takes places every Wednesday from 4.30 – 6pm. The programme aims to engage more girls in football allowing them to experience the sport. The programme will run for 36 weeks.
CITC run free Girls Only Soccer Schools during every half term holiday, again with the aim of engaging more girls in football, providing them with a fun and supportive environment. Aside from this they have partnered with the leading women’s charity,
Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation.
So take a deep breath....a complete and successful community project, a shiny new stadium and facilities but is that enough to make a team great and for them to create a legacy of youth development? One of the things that I find exciting about what City are doing is that it goes far beyond that - and more importantly, it seems to be coming from the top down and everyone from the ‘suits’ to the players is engaged with it. Hearing how passionate they are about the vision for Women’s football is great to see and very refreshing. There is no feeling that they are marking time waiting for a ‘real job’ with the men’s division - they are truly excited and feel that they are on the edge of a new world and that they can define it by what they are doing.
City want to provide a professional environment for Women’s football, on a par with, and mirroring the men’s team and benefiting from its association with the men’s team. The club also benefits from the resources of the wider organisation: from community programmes, to youth development, scouting, coaching, sports science and digital coverage.
Wow, now if there ever was a game changer then that’s it! They don’t want to just run a women’s team, they don’t want to just run a community project - they want to create something that mirrors the men’s team BUT that will also benefit from the association. That’s a very bold move and the only one so far that we are aware of in the world, certainly in English clubs. This is about seeing women’s football for what it will be, not what it is now, and building for that.
There are no excuses, only opportunities and City are grasping it with both hands, creating something unique.
There are a number of initiatives in the planning but one that is already out there is the male and female players being photographed together for the new kit launch in the match day programs. Let’s not forget that City aren’t a mid-table team, this is a silverware winning team!
So many boxes have been ticked here - from community through to strong links with the men’s side, but as so often has been reported, how are the players themselves viewed? City see MCWFC players as healthy, powerful and successful women: and they want to promote this view of female athletes as the norm. In this, City believe that female athletes can be role models. This for me is the final piece of the puzzle: positive affirmation of women and athletes, and to follow one of our themes, to be role models.
What City have put in place and the passion demonstrated by the team has been remarkable; the excitement that they talk with is contagious. They are bringing so much more than another Women’s Football team to the party, they are pioneers of what the next generation will see as the norm and this is very exciting to observe.
The final words are best left to City who show their complete vision and lack of elitism in their aim to demonstrate that all girls, regardless of ability can play and more importantly, enjoy football.