The Women's Football World Cup has officially kicked off, so we sat down with our very own women's football squad to chat all things football.
The Women's Football World Cup has officially kicked off, and at Arts SU, we're so glad to see the recognition of the hard work, dedication, and commitment of women in the game getting the attention it deserves. We can't wait for an inspiring summer of sport, cheering on some truly incredible athletes! But did you know that we have our very own women's football team open to students at UAL?
Our Women's Football Club is all-inclusive and welcomes abilities from beginners all the way up to professionals. With fixtures throughout the year, the team competes in London Universities Sport Leagues (LUSL), and are a firm favourite every year at Varsity! We caught up with Captain Enya O'Sullivan and President Tilia Wood to chat all things World Cup, as well as what it's really like to be part of a women's football team (spoiler alert: pretty amazing).
How does it feel to see women's football become so popular and see this much hype for the World Cup this summer?
Enya: It honestly feels so great! Seeing how women’s football is finally getting the recognition it deserves and how that’s encouraging more girls to get involved is so positive.
Tilia: It makes me proud to be involved in football again. Football hasn't always been accepted as a women's sport, and when I was younger I gave up playing for a while out of fear of being ridiculed. But now it's great to see the women's game selling out stadiums, and representing a game that is more liberating and freer than the men's, with a more accepting queer community within the sport, and a more welcoming crowd going to see games. It's a family day out, and you see kids now with women's names on the back of their shirts instead of men's.
Any matches you're particularly looking forward to?
Enya: Can’t say I can choose one, each game is always a different experience and is a lot of fun no matter what!
Tilia: I think the opening game (Australia vs Republic of Ireland) will be a great one to watch. It's Ireland's first World Cup and I feel like they are the team that most embodies the struggle and the journey that the women's game has been on. Not that long ago they were fighting to just get a team tracksuit, they were that underfunded, and now they're opening up a major world tournament. They are a team to get behind!
Why should students get involved with women's football, either as a spectator or as a player?
Enya: Women’s football has brought so many people together. As players, we have formed such a solid friendship which you can’t make elsewhere; even coming as a spectator, everyone is part of the team.
Tilia: I think something that is great about women's sports in general, is the community and support that player have for each other. I think that it's great to have this one thing, as well as being in the arts, that we all love and enjoy and can get involved in every week. I made some lasting friendships last year and I hope others will too.
What's the best part of being part of UAL's women's football squad?
Enya: Being able to play football every week is always something I look forward to, as well as seeing my friends I've made and being able to mix the two.
What's the squad hoping for in the upcoming season?
Enya: We are looking forward to seeing new players join at the start of the year and involving everyone. We are hoping to do just as well as we did last year but this time, get to the top of the league!
Tilia: I think it will be great to just create a team that is consistent every week, and that turns up no matter the weather. And build a team that's friendly and fun. But obviously along with that, as the competitive person I am, I would like to win the league (whatever league we enter) and win Varsity at the same standard as last year.
Why should UAL students consider joining a sports club while they study?
Enya: It’s a such a good break from studying all the time - being able to do exercise and it be fun every week was such an important part of my first year experience. Absolutely no regrets!
Tilia: I really think that now is the time for sport. I think especially in first year, we have so much time and freedom, and this is something we won't always have. When real life kicks in we might struggle to find time for things like sports, so I really think it's now or never. And if you've always wanted to play and haven't, it might feel harder to start the later you do it. So do it! I also think that if you're moving away from home for the first time, it's a great way to feel part of a community to help get you through. It's also something worth celebrating!
Feeling inspired? So are we! Find out more about our Women's Football Club and follow their Instagram, or learn more about all our student communities.