Women’s football used to be extremely popular. During the First World war they attracted tens of thousands to their matches and there were even hints of international games. By 1921, the FA banned women from football because they believed it could damage their bodies. As the years have passed, we have seen male footballers soar into the limelight, often regarded as heroes and role models by many, leaving women playing in the background. But in recent years, we have witnessed the resurgence of the female game, which was spurred on by the women’s England team’s third place win the the 2015 World Cup.

The successes of women in football has helped change the whole system. Not only has it benefited those higher up in the sport, but it has inspired and urged those at lower levels, in more grassroot teams, to pursue the game of football.

Ex Blues is a grassroots football team based in West Wickham. Originally, it was a just a boys club, however, four years ago, they created their first girls squad after the secretary was working with these girls and they said that they wanted to start a football team. There was enough interest and membership so from that day on, the Ex Blues u12s for girls was formed.

As women’s football grows from strength to strength, so has the Ex Blues. Since their launch of the u12s girl’s squad, they have expanded and created an u15s team, and an u13s unit which Rob Fordjour coaches. Throughout his time as the coach, he has recognised that “more girls are now playing football.” and that they see the girl’s “league we are in grow”.

Football is becoming more and more accessible for young girls because of the representation on tv and the continuous growth of the women’s league. Ex Blues have furthered this accessibility by forging a sister club agreement with Millwall Lionesses and Millwall RTC. They are giving more exposure to these young girls that allows them to reach the heights that the England women’s team have ascended to.

The successes, the exposure, the representation. All of these components are essential to the growth of women’s football and in giving women more opportunities to play this sport. It is no longer an exclusively male domain, but a place where women can be inspired to join in, and not just watch from the sidelines. For women’s football to really reach its peak, the representation needs to continue. We need to keep seeing names like Steph Houghton and Gilly Flaherty sitting alongside the male personalities. Because as Mr. Fordjour said: “the more visible and high profile the women are, the more girls may believe it is right for them”.