The success of the Lionesses has inspired many girls across the UK, but it has been a long road to mainstream recognition of women’s football.
The Guardian football writer Suzanne Rack recount Hannah Moore on the tumultuous history of women’s football in the UK, from the FA’s 50-year ban to trolling those who promote it. She explains how recent developments in the professionalization of the game and an increase in media coverage have attracted more people to the sport.
Shahad, 18, attended the England v Spain quarter-final match at Brighton. “It’s in my country, it’s happening right in front of me, it’s probably the best time of my life to be honest,” she told Moore.
It is supported by the Football Beyond Borders association, which aims to inspire young people with learning difficulties but who are passionate about football. She says there’s still a lot to be done to make the game more accessible to girls like her.
“I can’t say that I know a Muslim footballer, who wears the headscarf or not, and not having a role model was a real challenge for me because it made me accept what other people were saying about me not couldn’t to become one,” she said. “I was like they were right, there’s no one like me who plays football, so how could I go about it? I have no one to look up to.”