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  • Writer's pictureAmy Kate - The Red Way

Triumph for Womens Football or Is It Too Little, Too Late?

📸 Original 1972 England’s Womens Football Team - Photo property of Getty Images

After more than 50 years of being banned by the English FA, on the 18th of November 1972 the first official English Womens Football Team played an international match in Greenock, Scotland. England beat Scotland 3-2. However, the English FA did not give the women the recognition they deserved. The women where denied their cap like their male counterparts.

A "Cap" was first introduced in England on May 10, 1872 by the founder of Corinthians and assistant secretary of the Football Association, Nicholas Lane Jackson. It was deemed that any player would be awarded a physical cap to commemorate their involvement in an international match. That is a term still used. However, they no longer receive a physical cap.

Lane Jackson declared “All players taking part for England in future international matches be presented with a white silk cap with red rose embroidered on the front. These to be termed International Caps. “

So if this is standard practice since 1872, why did the FA choose not to acknowledge the English National Women's Team?

With the current rise of popularity of women's football in England and Sarina Wiegman's Lioness's receiving their first major title this summer winning the 2022 Women'e Euros, women's football is beginning to get the recognition they deserve. The current Lioness's have been unbeaten for 23 matches and won the last 15 in a row under head coach, Wiegman.

On Friday, October 7, 2022 at Wembley England Womens team hosted a friendly against the Current World Cup Champions, the United States of America with a record breaking crowd of 76,893. England beat the USA 2-1 with England clinching the win when Georgia Stanway scored on the penalty that was awarded giving the Lionesses the lead and ultimately the win over the USA which hasn't happened since 2017.

As an American, that's a hard pill to swallow when your country dominated women's football for so many years. But at the same time, you can't help being proud of how far the woman's game has come and the playing field is starting to even out substantially.. For the sake of the sport, this is a good thing. And maybe it's time for the United States to re-evaluate how they're game. Also, a huge congratulations to England. Well played!

📸Photo from the official Twitter page of the Lionesses.

Not only was a friendly played that night, but also the original English Womens National Team from 1972 received the recognition they deserved. Some of the members of that squad were presented with bespoke caps by current English captain, Leah Williamson and veteran Jill Scott to mark the match that happened near 50 years ago.

Maggie Pearce - 📸 Property of BBC Sport

Former defender, Maggie Pearce shared with BBC Sport, "It will be a special occasion for her - although, it's been a long time coming after years of feeling "ignored" by English football's governing body."

"It's taken 50 years for the FA to come out with it. Whether or not it has anything [to do] with the current squad winning the Euros that they've suddenly realised 'well yes we now need to recognise all those past players that have played'."

She said "the move comes after years of campaigning by former players. And for her, that feeling of recognition will come when the cap "is in my hand".

"The squad and a lot of the past players have been battling with the FA to have some sort of recognition. Even though [the FA] said they recognised past players, but we always felt that we weren't.

Pearce was only 15 years old back in 1972 playing for Southampton's women's team when she was called up for England.

Many current players including striker, Beth Mead, stating " it was about time their achievements were recognised."

Mead was also quoted as saying, "We know as players we wouldn't be here today without the women before us," she said. "We met plenty of the legends earlier in the week. Incredible women. It's nice they have a voice now and are seen for what they have done in the game."

The Lioness's posted the message on the twitter account on Friday with the caption

"Past 🤝 Present 🤝 Future"

📸Photo from the official Twitter page of the Lionesses.

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