Wednesday 13th April, 2011 marked the day when Women’s Super League kicked off. The first match was played between Chelsea Ladies and Arsenal Ladies at Tooting & Mitcham FC.
The FA WSL match was shown live on ESPN and the pre-match entertainment included coaching session from Chelsea FC coaches, fun inflatables, face painting, free giveaways and a performance from the girl band Parade.
2,510 people in the crowd witnessed Arsenal winning the tight contest 1-0. Gilly Flaherty scored the only goal of the game in the first half and they held on well against some good second half pressure from Chelsea.
County Secretary of the Surrey County FA, Ray Ward, said:
“The launch was a terrific success. The attendance was higher than expected and the pre-match entertainment kept the audience lively until kick-off. Both teams produced a good standard of football. The league, I am sure, will grow from here.”
Chairman of the FA, David Bernstein, was in attendance, as was Sir Trevor Brooking and England Women’s coach Hope Powell. Various celebrities also watched the launch of a new era in women’s football.
The eight team, semi-professional league will run throughout the summer from April to September and comprise: Arsenal LFC, Birmingham City LFC, Bristol Academy LFC, Chelsea LFC, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Everton LFC, Lincoln LFC and Liverpool LFC.
ESPN is the broadcast partner and it will show weekly highlights every Tuesday at 1830, as well as a selection of live matches.