2019 has been an incredible year for women's and girls' football, with the World Cup in France stealing headlines across the globe. In England in particular, 2019 has been somewhat of a transformative year for the game – from additional media coverage, growing interest and increasing crowds at the top level to more females playing, coaching and refereeing. We take you through some highlights of the year. 2019 in 10(ish), if you will...
The amount awarded to the winners of the Barclay's FA Women's Super League season
The Barclay's sponsorship deal for the FA Women's Super League means the 2019-20 season has the league's first prize fund. The entire fund totals £500,000, and the champions will win £100,000 of that, while the rest of the money will be awarded to each of the other 11 teams in decreasing increments.
The percentage increase in female footballers in England
The two year report on the FA's Gameplan for Growth – 'an ambitious four-year strategy to transform the women's game' – showed that since the strategy was launched in 2017, the number of women and girls playing football in the UK has grown by nine percent and now stands at 2.7 million.
The number of female coaches has increased by 24 per cent to 1,691, while the number of referees is now 1,727 – up by 13 per cent.
The 2020 target is to have 12,000 registered teams – the 2019 figure is 11,088.
The number of fixtures postponed during the salary strike in Spain
On the weekend of November 16 players competing in the Spanish top flight went on strike following a breakdown in negotiations with their clubs about minimum salary and part-time contracts. Eight fixtures in total were postponed.
Negotiations since the strike have resulted in new agreements including an annual minimum wage of €16,000 for full-time players and €12,000 for part time players; bonuses for senior players; maternity allowances; holiday pay; injury protections; protection against harassment, and pay for club appearances outside of matches.
The new attendance record for a Lionesses' home fixture
When the Lionesses faced Germany at Wembley on November 9, a crowd of 77,768 showed up. The game resulted in a 2-1 loss for England, with an Ellen White goal sandwiched in between Germany's two from Alexandra Popp and Klara Bühl. The result wasn't as England had hoped, but the record breaking crowd which surpassed the previous home record crowd of 45,619 – also against Germany in 2014 – meant the day was about more than just the score, and truly illustrated the impact of the World Cup.
The number of goals scored by Vivianne Miedema against Bristol city
Vivianne Miedema broker her own record for goal involvements by one player in a Women's Super League match when she scored six goals and assisted four as Arsenal beat Bristol City 11-1 on December 1. The game – the biggest ever victory in WSL history – saw Miedema score a hat-trick in either half. At the end of 2019, Miedema leads both the scoring and assisting charts – with 14 goals and 7 assists. She's still only 23.
The minimum age for a girl to attend a Wildcats Centre
As of 2019 there are more than 880 SSE Wildcats centres in England. The FA girls football centres offer girls aged between five and 11 a chance to try football for the first time and go on to play regularly.
You can find your local Wildcats centre, or find out more about how to start or convert to one here.
Lyon's run of successive Champions League titles going into the 2019-20 season
Olympique Lyonnais Féminin are looking to win their seventh Champions League title in 2020. They won four of their six current titles successively from 2016 to 2019 – a record.
They have also won 13 consecutive domestic league titles from 2007 to 2019.
The team to beat, follow, and watch for a masterclass in football.
The number of teams from the top six countries that will partake in the Champions League from 2021
Among the numerous changes decided in 2019 to be implemented for the 2021-22 Champions League campaign was the decision to feature a group stage for the last 16 – replacing the current knock out format.
This change means that the top six countries by ranking will now receive three qualification spots, rather than the current two. A clubs domestic finish will impact their route: some clubs will have to progress through two rounds to reach the group stage, while the champions may progress straight to the last 16.
The years on Sam Kerr's Chelsea deal
Chelsea made a massive statement of intent when they signed Australian striker and captain Sam Kerr from Chicago Red Stars, seeing off competition from the likes of Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.
Kerr holds numerous records: she is the all-time top scorer in both the National Women's Soccer League – with 60 goals – and the W-League – with 70 goals. She has scored the most goals in a single season of both leagues, the most goals in one NWSL match, and the quickest hat-trick in the W-League. She has also won five consecutive golden boots across both leagues. Kerr signed on a two-and-a-half year deal in November, but has just recently linked up with her new teammates and will play her first game for the Blues in the coming weeks.
The number of goals scored by the USA in the World Cup final
The United States beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the 2019 World Cup Final to claim their fourth world cup title.
A Megan Rapinoe penalty and a left-footed strike from Rose Lavelle within the space of nine minutes gave the USA some what of a comfortable victory. The win meant the US became the second team to win two consecutive editions of the tournament – the first was Germany who were victorious in 2003 and 2007.
The game attracted an average live audience 82.18 million, making it the most watched match in Women's World Cup history.
The record-breaking amount of viewers that tuned into the World Cup
FIFA's Global Broadcast and Audience Report found that a record-breaking 1.12 billion viewers watched the 2019 Women's World Cup either on TV or digital platforms.
The average live match had 17.27 viewers – more than double the average live match audience in 2015 – while the 2.49 billion hours of tournament coverage consumed by viewers was almost double that of the 2015 tournament.
Viewing increased significantly from the previous competition across almost all regions – notably by 520 per cent in South America – except for a slight decrease in North America and the Caribbean.
The number of full-time professional women's football leagues in Europe
Despite all of the furore, increased interest, and growth in participation in the game in 2019, there is still only one full-time professional women's football league in Europe: the WSL. The first WSL season in 2011 featured eight teams, an the majority of players were semi-professional. Following a restructure, the 2018-19 season launched with 11 full-time professional teams.
There are 12 teams in the league this season, meaning there are 12 full-time professional women's football teams in England.
Here's to a wonderful 2020 for women's and girls' football!