In the last ten years, Women’s football has become more and more popular. In this report, we focus on the game in England, by looking at the Women’s Super League, or WSL. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above, and you can also read the transcript of the report (below). There is also explanations of key vocabulary (in bold).
Women’s Super League
The Women’s Super League held its first season in 2011, hoping to take advantage of the women’s World Cup being held later that summer. Initially, there were eight teams, most drawn from the existing Premier League National division. While some teams have very popular and successful men’s equivalents, such as Arsenal, Liverpool and Birmingham, a few are from towns and cities not known for recent success in the men’s game: for example, Bristol and Lincoln.
The first Champions were Arsenal Ladies FC, who triumphed ahead of Birmingham City Ladies. Arsenal also won the WSL Continental Cup, or the League Cup, and the Women’s FA Cup to claim a treble. Average attendance to matches was fairly low, at just under 600, but some matches did pull in the crowds, such as Chelsea v Arsenal, watched by over 2,500. To compare, League 2 in England has an average attendance of about 4,000.
Arsenal were to hold on to the title and the League Cup in 2011, again beating Birmingham to the top spot. Kim Little, a Scottish international, was the top scorer, netting 11.
By 2014, it was clear that the league had to expand, and a new second tier was created, the WSL 2, consisting of ten teams with the bottom side from WSL 1 being relegated. By this time, Liverpool Ladies FC were the Champions and managed to retain their crown, while Doncaster Rovers Belles became the first team to be relegated.
2015 is a big season for the WSL as it coincides with the seventh Women’s World cup, which was held in Canada in June and July. The tournament has definitely had an impact, as attendance has gone up to an average of over 1,000.
With two games to go, it looks like a battle between relative newcomers Chelsea, in first on 26 points, and Manchester City in second, on 24 points. Arsenal have an outside chance with 21 points, but need both teams above them to slip up badly. In bottom spot are Bristol who need a miracle to escape the drop.
The 2016 season will see the top division expanded by one to nine teams, with an additional team joining in 2017.
initially: to start; at the beginning
drawn from: chosen from; taken from
attendance: the number of spectators/fans watching a match
pull in: attract; interest
hold on to: keep; retain
coincides with: happens at the same time as
slip up : make a mistake
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