The Women’s Football Experience – A Whole New Ball Game.

Written by Natalie Doyle

July 22, 2022

England Women v Norway in Euro 2022

The UEFA Women’s Euros have created a real buzz around women’s football.  More tickets have been sold for the tournament than any previous women’s Euros with millions tuning in to watch the Lionesses on TV.  I’ve been fortunate to be able to take my two sons, aged 4 and 7, to the games against Norway, Northern Ireland, and Spain.  It’s been a football experience like no other, and I think it provides a real opportunity to engage new people with live sport.

The crowd is so diverse – men, women, children of all ages; all ethnicities; all there to have a good time.  There is a party atmosphere from the moment you take your seat – everyone dancing and singing, the kids with their flags and ‘clappers’ (is that what they’re called?).  Obviously, the high number of goals has helped to keep them engaged, but I was surprised that both of my boys sat through the entire 90 minutes (plus extra time for the Spain game) and then stayed on for a dance and to clap the players off afterwards.  They then ask to play ‘Freed From Desire’ and ‘Three Lions’ in the car on the way home!  They’re hooked!

I’m a season ticket holder for Liverpool men’s team so I’ve seen my fair share of good football and brilliant atmospheres, but a brilliant atmosphere at a men’s football match can be quite overwhelming for some children…and some adults!  I’ve certainly seen that when I’ve taken one of my sons to Anfield – it’s very loud and intense, and there’s often a lot of ‘colourful’ language! Don’t get me wrong – this is the type of football I fell in love with and I love going to watch men’s football, but I also acknowledge that it’s not for everyone.

And this is where women’s football can step in – it’s a much gentler introduction to watching football, and that’s not a criticism!  The party atmosphere keeps youngsters engaged – dancing, singing, clapping, holding up their ‘Goal’ signs, Mexican waves (controversial, I know, but the kids love them!)  As someone who loves football, it’s been brilliant to find a version of going to watch football that ticks all the boxes for the whole family.  I’m already looking ahead to future Lionesses fixtures after the Euros to see whether we can go as a family and it’s heart-warming for me to see the boys excited about watching football for the first time.  So if you’ve been reluctant to get along to a women’s football game, maybe because you feel it’s not your ‘thing’, gather up your family and friends and give it a go, because women’s football is a whole new experience and you’re going to have a great time!

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