Here Millie Bright – Chelsea Women’s central defender – discusses the development of the women’s game while talking to BBC Sport. Formerly of Doncaster Rovers Belles, Bright acts as a leader for club and country alike.
A positive spin on the women’s game
Bright says that appreciation of the female game has soared after Barclays sponsored the Women’s Super League, and Boots sponsored the home nations as well as the Republic of Ireland female teams. She believes sponsors have lately seen a commercial worth in the game and that they are huge for the sport’s growth. It is important, she says, to spread the largesse around. Meanwhile, respect levels for the game have never been higher.
However, Bright’s own career has been chequered. When at Doncaster in 2013, she faced relegation and Manchester City took her team’s place instead. Due to a lack of investment in Doncaster, they had to play a whole season knowing they were going out, an experience Bright does not want to repeat. She remembers feeling like the team wasn’t wanted or respected in the league.
Reports of Barclays’ sponsorship of the Women’s Super League arrived in the same week that Yeovil Town Ladies entered into administration, demonstrating that some clubs still struggle.
Bright believes that the league needs to be developing and approaching the men’s game stage where the sport could set you up for life.
It’s known that football training drills are an important part of team preparation. Coaches can visit Sportplan for football training drills.
The BBC reports on women’s football at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/womens.
Looking to the future
Bright commented on her injury difficulties prior to turning professional. She says some players had to fall back on private medical care or even crowdfunding. She believes that clubs ought to assist with all medical needs.
Bright says that every year, the England central contracts have seen progression; England has won the 2019 SheBelieves Cup, and a World Cup would be another step up. Growth that comes with success in turn leads to sponsor investment in the game.
This is why news of the Barclays investment is seen as a tipping point. It demonstrates that women’s football is going in the right direction for a long time into the future.