Manchester United are finally set to have a Women’s Super League team after the club applied to the Football Association to join.
United are the only major premier league team that still doesn’t have a dedicated women’s team. Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool all have teams and United has been resisting but now have joined the ranks. In January Phil Neville, the England women national team coach and former United defender, stated he would be “urging them” to do so.
Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, said: “We are pleased to announce that the club intends to establish its first ever professional women’s team and has submitted an application to enter WSL2. The FA has provided excellent support through the process and we believe that launching a team in WSL2 would give many more of our graduates from the regional talent club the chance to establish themselves as first team players.
“The Manchester United women’s team must be built in the same image and with the same principles as the men’s first team and offer academy players a clear route to top-level football within the club.”
Whilst United is the last major team to create a female team, they have been running the United foundation, which has been helping develop talented female players, of which 15 graduates are playing international football this season alone.
In January Neville said: “They [United] have a fantastic community programme for female players and coaches. When they do set out their women’s team it will be one to challenge City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool. A club of the size of United should be the leaders, the pioneers. I am sure they are working to do that.”
The application should be just a formality so we can expect to see, United performing in the top-tier of women’s football. Their inclusion should increase visibility of the women’s game.