With the 19/20 season now in full swing, as part of the league’s 10th Anniversary celebrations, we wanted to catch up with historical players from each club, to see how they think the game and league have changed over the 10 years.
This month, we caught up with Cyncoed Ladies player and club committee member, Kerry Moore.
O: So, Kerry, what is your role at Cyncoed, and how long have you been with the club?
K: I’m still a player at the club (the oldest player by a few years!) and a member of the club’s committee. I have been with the club since the very beginning - from the 2007-8 season before Cyncoed were even Cyncoed (we played one season as 'Cardiff Draconians' before becoming Cyncoed Ladies in our second season in 2008-9).
O: How was women’s football perceived when you first joined the Welsh Premier Women’s League back in 2009?
K: We were promoted to the Welsh Premier Women’s League for the first time in the 2015-16 season, having progressively worked our way up through the South Wales Women’s and Girls Leagues. In terms of attitudes towards women’s football, there have obviously been misguided perceptions in the past, including outright misogyny. It would be naive to think that those attitudes don’t still exist out there because they certainly do. Ten years ago, however, before there was a genuine push in mainstream media to feature women’s football at the top level, it was probably a more challenging environment and easier for people to get away with sweeping statements about the quality of the women’s game. Perhaps there also wasn’t the confidence that there is now to promote the women’s game so positively. Ten years ago, women and girls' football were already the fastest growing sport in the UK, but without that profile and significant support, it flew under the radar.
O: How has the perception of women’s football improved since the first WPWL season in 2009 compared to now, ten years later?
K: The perception of women’s football is certainly better now. World-class footballers like Jess Fishlock, Megan Rapinoe and Lucy Bronze are household names. Ex-players like Alex Scott have deservedly become well-respected pundits. Female voices in football are no longer massively unusual! It makes a huge difference that women’s football is, at last, being given a chance to be seen. The Women’s World Cup 2019 was a breakthrough tournament for perceptions of the game. Everyone was watching it. We had a very popular sweepstake fundraiser at work! This all genuinely feeds through to the grassroots with parents having an expectation that girls will be able to play, and that there will be a clear route for talented young players to develop. The possibility that the very best might make football a professional career was just not there, in the same way, ten years ago. We don’t have full equality yet but, look at the fight of the USA women’s team; look at the likes of Lewes FC. It's great to see equality on the agenda, and we have great advocates to push for better recognition, development and support of the women’s game now in Wales and across the UK.
O: What has been your most stand out memory of Cyncoed in the WPWL league over the last ten
K: There have been so many brilliant memories for me with the club over the past ten years. We’re so proud of the numerous Cyncoed players who have been selected to represent internationally, of the many WPWL ‘worldies' (goals and saves) and the amazing development of players, old and new, in our club. The standout one in terms of success must be silverware – in particular, when we won the WPWL League Cup in 2018 against Cardiff Met at Dragon Park. We’d come such a long way from those early years and the mud ridden match days on Hailey Park. Back then Cardiff Met were genuinely in a different class, but, in that cup final, the girls really showed what Cyncoed are about and gave us some beautiful football. We had Mighty Oaks players old and new, friends and family, all there in strong support. It was a special day.
O: What are your hopes for the future of the WPWL league?
K: I hope that the League goes from strength to strength, with Cyncoed up there competing with the best. We are seeing more publicity and media interest in our games and it’s great to be part of this challenging and competitive league. It would also be wonderful to see the league continue to advocate for the things we believe in - for the women’s game, and for diversity and equality in our sport. The challenges are not always just about hard work in training and preparation for games, especially for independent, self-funded clubs like us. Licensing requirements have been driving up standards and expectations of the women’s game, which is welcome. It will be excellent to see this continue, with enough investment and support for WPWL clubs, North and South, to develop. And the recognition that, it is the love of the game and commitment of (mostly) volunteers working hard in clubs, on and off the pitch, which makes the WPWL league a success.
One thing is clear, that the women’s game is on the rise, and with women like Kerry on the frontline, the only way is up.
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