The FA is two years into its three year strategy for women's and girls' football: 'Gameplan for Growth'.
Its latest report on progress notes that over the last two years:
The number of female players has risen by 9% to 2.7 million
The number of female coaches has risen by 24% to 1,691
The number of female referees has risen by 13% to 1,727
While over the last year:
The number of registered female teams teams has risen by 19% to 11,088 – a growth of 1,774 new teams
In her introductory note to the report, Baroness Sue Campbell, Director of Women's Football at the FA says: 'experience tells me that many things grow at speed and just as quickly fade away. We must not allow this to happen to the women’s game.'
In other words: the women's game in England is growing at speed, but we need to make sure we have the infrastructure and support in place so that it can both sustain itself and continue to grow.
One of the most common requests we get at FROM THE OFF is to sponsor female teams or players (you can see the three players we currently sponsor here). It seems that the infrastructure exists – leagues are running and teams are training and competing – yet more support is needed when it comes to the associated costs, whether that be travel, kit, pitch space, or something else.
This is, of course, not just a problem unique to England – female footballers across the world struggle for the means to play or get involved in the game. And it's not just about money – bigger picture issues around culture and safety keep many females from the game they love. In Iran, for example, women are fighting for the right to attend matches, having been banned from stadiums where men are playing since around 1979.
Point is: a lot's changed, but there's so much further to go.
See below for a list of current opportunities to give back and support the women's game.
We'll update this page weekly, fill out this simple form if you want to be included.