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28 NUWFC player Spotlight Leo Kennedy get into ! How did youup was afootball? we used to My best friend growing lad and spend our time kicking a ball around the street. It wasn't until I was 16 that I joined a team and started taking it seriously. Never looked back since. Worked my way up from the durham county league with Boldon Ladies/Gateshead Rutherford to then playing in the North East Premier with Hartlepool St Francis which is who I was playing for when I got scouted by the then Nuwfc manager Gary Mutimer during a pre season friendly. Why do you think women’s football gets less coverage/support? It is historic? ! gets less coverage because there is less interest in it. It Companies/tv providers will predominantly show what is in the greatest demand, whether this is sport, drama, documentaries etc. they are after all businesses, they look at what's going to make them the profit. The coverage has picked up a fair bit in the past few years with BBC showing the national games and now BT showing a number of WSL games. The problem is attracting the crowds and creating an atmosphere at games. Even in the men's game matches become dull when watching on tv if there is no atmosphere within the ground. You wouldn't think it but this is something that comes across even through the tv. Sunderland a few weeks ago was a great example of this, flat atmosphere at the game and afterwards it's all a lot of football fans talked about, even the commentators in the BT Of course it is historic. Up until 1921 when the FA banned women from affiliated football, the sport was massive and it's support could give the men a run for their money. The most famous of teams Dick Kerr ladies attracted over 50,000 spectators when they played at Goodson Park in 1920. During the war women picked up the jobs which were normally done by the men due to them going off to fight, and played a vital role. Sport was encouraged and with the 1914/15 male football season being abandoned due to so many men being at war, attention turned to women playing the sport. It first acted as just a reprieve on a Saturday away from the worries of war but players where then seen for their ability and skill. After the war the government believed that women should go back to being the perfect housewife. Lots of propaganda starting flying around stating how women where needed to stay at home, raise the children and look after the husband. The FA seem to have picked up on this and banned women’s game from being played on affiliated pitches stating that 'the game of football is quite unsuitable for women and should not be encouraged.' That ban stood for 50 years, who knows where the game would be of it never happened. NUWFC Player Leo Kennedy Did the Olympics help the image of women’s football? ! did yes to a point. It's was a great showcase for It the game especially with the British team doing pretty well for what was technically a new team. However I don't think it had the impact people hoped as in creating lasting interest. You hear a lot of how great it was that the games had 80,000 spectators at the ground alone, but thinking about it, how many of them where generally there because of an interest in women’s football and how many where just caught up in the hype of the Olympic Games and just wanted to be at any event. The interest spiked just after the games but by the time the WSL kicked off nearly 6/7 later most had forgotten. No harm has come from the games as their was some fantastic matches played, who can forget England beating Brazil 1-0! I think it opened people's eyes and showed them that actually women can play. Yes it's not as fast as the men's game and maybe doesn't come across as physical (trust me it is, we just don't roll around the pitch after a hard tackle) but skill wise and Will mens’ sport always overshadow women’s? ! Unfortunately I believe yes it will be. even if our national team won a major trophy I doubt as much fuss would be made as it would with the men. Sport is dominated by men, it always has been. They have the physical advantage of being faster and stronger, 2 things that are major aspects in majority of sports. Essentially sport was created by men for men. This will only change if we can get more people to games and show that women can be just as could as the men if you watch with an open mind