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Historic season for fully professional FA Women's Super League

PUBLISHED: 12:40 07 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:40 07 September 2018

Arsenal Women gear up for the start of the FA Women's National League with an open training session at their London Colney training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

Arsenal Women gear up for the start of the FA Women's National League with an open training session at their London Colney training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

The newly restructured FA Women's Super League (FA WSL) will kick off an historic season on Sunday (September 9) when it becomes fully professional for the first time.

The restructure of the top-flight of women’s football has included new licensing criteria for the 11 sides competing in The FA WSL, including all players throughout the league becoming full-time.

The restructure of the league is a milestone for women’s football in Europe and The FA’s delivery of ‘The Gameplan for Growth’ which is aiming to double participation and the fan base of the women’s game by 2020.

The league starts at 12.30pm on Sunday as Arsenal go head-to-head against Liverpool on the BBC Sport Red Button. At 2pm, last year’s FA WSL and SSE Women’s FA Cup winners Chelsea take on Manchester City live on BT Sport 3.

All of the opening weekend fixtures can be found at thefa.com/wsl and games will be broadcast throughout the season on BT Sport, BBC and The FA WSL Facebook page.

Tickets to all league games throughout the season are available at ticketstores.co.uk/fawsl.

West Ham United’s Rose Kmita is looking forward to the start of the new season and believes it signals a change in the landscape for young female footballers.

She said: “I came across a lot of doubters who said I wouldn’t be able to do this as a career, but now I can say to these girls, you can and you will, if you put your mind to it and believe in yourself.”

Arsenal and England midfielder Jordan Nobbs echoed those sentiments, adding: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t follow your dream. I’ve had incredible support and constant encouragement from my friends and family and I’m now a professional footballer.”

To celebrate the start of the new FA WSL season and a landmark moment for women’s football, The FA has created a film that highlights its impact on a generation of girls who can now aspire to have a career in women’s football.

Aspiring young footballers feature in the 60-second video alongside stars of the women’s game.

The FA’s Director of the Women’s Professional Game, Kelly Simmons said: “The start of a new fully professional top tier is a landmark moment for women’s football and integral to the future growth of the game, both on and off of the pitch.

“It is my hope that the move will launch domestic women’s football into becoming a mainstream sport, that millions of people up and down the country are connected with week in, week out.”

12-year-old Fahren who stars in the film said: “I think the new FA WSL is really important and I loved being in the video. It means me and my friends can now dream of playing in a professional league, just like all of the boys our age who love football.”

The launch of the new look FA WSL coincides with the unveiling of The FA WSL Academy programme, geared towards balancing a young female player’s football development with their educational aspirations.

With the performance services of physical preparation, physiotherapy and lifestyle provision facilitated by the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme [TASS] in Higher Education locations, the Academy programme will support over 200 players aged 16-20.

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