Women’s Football Club launches campaign to push for place in new FA Super League
Leeds United Ladies Football Club is today launching a campaign to get businesses and supporters to ‘Show Your Love for Leeds United Ladies’ as they make a push for a place in a new Super League Division created by the Football Association.
The club, which was formed in 1989 and is supported by Leeds United Foundation, has been the one of the country’s top women’s sides for most of the past decade, and currently plays in the FA Premier League National Division.
But now, it is seeking sponsorship for the first team as it makes a bid to be selected for the FA Women’s Super League Division 2 (FAWSL 2), which will launch in 2014.
Key players in the team, including a prison warden, a teacher, a student and the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the academy Leeds United men’s team, want to highlight the health benefits football can bring for women of all ages and the importance of Leeds United Ladies being part of the new division, as well as the continuation of its FA Centre of Excellence (for those age 9-17)
Midfielder Rachel Lee, aged 22, has played football since the age of nine, in her home town of Sunderland and got involved with Leeds United Ladies firstly while at University and is now back again, thanks to her job as a PE teacher at a senior school in Dewsbury. She said: “I would encourage anyone who is interested in women’s football to give it a go. You need to work hard but if you have that ambition, you can play for a top side. Leeds United is a big club and we want the Ladies team to reflect that and get it back where it belongs – and that means being in this new division.”
According to Carla Cantrell, Health Project Officer at the Foundation, who was recently on loan with Leeds United Ladies, it’s a mix of fitness, socialising and a love of the beautiful game that ensures she trains, plays and mentors the team.
Carla said: “I really enjoy going into schools to tell pupils about the benefits of playing football, training and eating well and I think more girls are understanding how to keep fit and healthy and we want to encourage using football as part of that. It’s also important to me to act as a mentor for the younger players who may not have experienced playing at senior level.”
If the club is successful in being accepted into the new division, the team will meet other top sides including Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Coventry and will need financial backing from a sponsor.
Although the club is currently sponsored by Ringways Ford Motor Group, a further sponsor needs to be found to allow the team to compete and exist in the new, highly competitive division, which requires set criteria in coaching, medical support, ground maintenance and services, as well as management and promotion of the club.
However, if the club is not able to demonstrate the funding required tomeet the demands of the new Super League, then it could be an own goal for the team.
Mick Ferguson, Director of Leeds United Foundation said: “The current league the ladies play in will cease to exist once the FAWSL 2 is in place, and this could sound the death knell for the club, our Centre of Excellence and indeed the future of the female playing section here if we are not successful into getting into the new league.
“We have such enormous talent here, with some of best young women playing at international level. And we can help to nurture some of the talent we have seen in schools and at grass roots level. All this shows how vitally important it is to keep this club running.”
And it’s not just about the money. As part of the new division requirements, the number of spectators needs to increase from a minimum of 250 in 2014 to 350 in 2016, rising to at least 400 in 2017, so the recruitment drive also aims to push for a larger fan base than the current 200 supporters.
“We are doing all we can to get into this division. The talented and hard working team and staff deserve that and we hope that this will be a lasting legacy for women’s football in the North,” said Mick Ferguson.
The club will submit its bid to be part of the Super League Division 2 in March 2013 and will find out in June if it has been successful.
For further media information please contact John Quinton-Barber at Social Public Relations on 07769 344 956 or Caty Cartwright on 07780 615 569.