FA Gives Women’s Football Major Boost

Jill Scott of England Women England v Germany Women's International Friendlies football match, Wembley Stadium, London, UK - 09 Nov 2019 Photo: Robin Parker for The FA

Women’s football in England gets a huge boost after The FA announced it will extend its “Gameplan for Growth” strategy.

The three-part plan is aimed to build a strong foundation for the women’s game — from grassroots to the national team.

The original targets included doubling participation and the game’s fanbase.

In addition, it aimed to identify world-class talent and streamline the transition from youth teams to the senior level. 

The FA hoped it would help England’s national team achieve consistent success on the world stage. They were right.

Jill Scott of England during training England Women’s Football Team Training Camp, St George’s Park National Football Centre, Burton-on-Trent, UK – 01 Oct 2019 Photo:
Chloe Knott for The FA

Since its inception in 2017, the Lionesses have hit some big milestones.

They were SheBelieves Cup champions in 2019, beating the eventual World Champion USWNT.

That same year they were Women’s World Cup semi-finalists.

All of these achievements led them to second in the world rankings — their highest ever position.

The FA decided to capitalize on these accomplishments and push for a potential 2023 World Cup win.

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As a result, three new programs have been launched:

  • Lioness Player Pathway – To support the transition of players from youth to the senior team.
  • England Women’s Blueprint – To create a common culture for all teams to follow.
  • Women’s Talent ID Strategy – To identify the country’s most talented players.

Head of Women’s Technical Development at the FA, Kay Cossington, said the program was the result of years of research.

“As custodians of the women’s game in England we felt that we needed a strong sense of identity and a deeper understanding of what we are protecting and nurturing. We needed to identify our story,” she said.

“With a team so hungry for success, I am confident that we will be reaping the rewards when the tournament arrives.”

England U19 v Turkey U19 UEFA European Womens Under-19 Championship football match, St George’s Park National Football Centre, Burton-on-Trent, UK – 03 Apr 2019
Photo: Jon Super for The FA

Whilst World Cup glory is a long-term goal, this year’s focus is the Lioness Player Pathway program.

“Working with players like Leah Williamson and Keira Walsh and seeing how they’ve progressed into senior internationals is fantastic,” England U21 coach Rehanne Skinner said.

“The pathway we set out is extremely important as it gives us an opportunity to structure programmes that expose the players to the variety of opposition, tactical formations and technical skills required to compete at the top level of the game.”

READ: Exclusive: Beth Mead and her journey to the top

More exciting talent is being identified, nurtured and integrated into the senior team than ever before.

If the FA can continue this trend then the Lioness’ have a real chance at World Cup Glory in three years time. 

In fact, it would not be surprising for other countries to launch similar programs based of England’s success.

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