Women’s football is now the top female sport in England, highlighted earlier this summer when England Women received a massive boost from the nation with their Euro 2005 campaign.
Record figures attended the games and fans were also able to tune into their televisions as BBC provided the vital coverage that the women's game so desperately needs.
This recognition allowed a massive step forward for the women’s game as it constantly struggles to challenge media stereotypes and break free from the shadow of the nationally recognised men’s game.
With The F.A. taking over the game, women’s football has received a major boost in terms of access to funding and resources. An example of this is in 1993 there were only 80 girl’s teams, whereas today there are over 3,500 in schools and clubs and an estimated 45,000 under 16 players.
Within Hampshire, the county is proud to boast two women’s teams within the FA Women’s Premier League.
Both Portsmouth FC Ladies and Southampton Saints have played a significant role in the development of the game in Hampshire. Southampton Saints have forged a strong partnership with their Centre of Excellence, which gives the opportunity for talented youngsters to develop their skills and concentrate on the game they love.
|Derby action (courtesy of C Bishop)|
Portsmouth FC Ladies have developed a club that allows girls to join in at any level which has subsequently seen them soar up through the divisions to the Premier League, where they only missed out on promotion to the Nationwide Premier League last season to a strong Chelsea Ladies team.
Portsmouth FC Ladies have also developed the first girl’s academy this season based within Portsmouth. The arrival of this second women’s football academy underpins the continuous growth of the game – especially in Hampshire.
The intense rivalry between the two top women’s teams in Hampshire always leaves fans excited at the forthcoming meetings between the two clubs. With both sides eager to own bragging rights, fixtures between the two always promise to be an exciting affair.
With Portsmouth FC Ladies looking in great shape for a title race this season, Southampton Saints will at least want to regain the Hampshire Cup after a disappointing 3-0 defeat back in April where Portsmouth FC Ladies easily coasted to victory.
The teams meet each other on the following dates:
Tuesday 13th September 2005 – Evening Kick Off at Winchester City FC.
Wednesday 5th October 2005 – Evening Kick Off at Cams Alders, Fareham FC.
Fans are encouraged to come along to watch any of Portsmouth FC Ladies or Southampton Saints games. Portsmouth FC Ladies home games are played on Sunday’s at 2pm at Cams Alders, Fareham FC, whilst Southampton Saints kick off their home games also on a Sunday at 2pm at Winchester City’s ground.