History of women’s soccer

Benjamin Mayran Football World

Find below the main dates which constitute the history of women’s soccer.

The English are pioneers in women’s football

  • 1881 : The first-ever women’s international unofficial match between Scotland and England. Large crowds attended that game with condescension and a widespread insistence that women shouldn’t play soccer.
  • 1895 : The first women’s association football team is formed in Great Britain by Nettie J. Honeyball. On March 23, The British Ladies’ Football Club arranged the game recognized as the first official match between teams representing the north and the south of England.
Women’s soccer team in 19th century
  • 1915 – 1918 : During the First World War, women made up for the lack of soldiers at the front and replaced them in industry. They had more responsibilities and more freedom, which allowed them to thrive in soccer. Between 1915 and 1918, more than 150 teams were formed and there were 750,000 members.

Women’s soccer in Europe

  • 1917 : Women’s football crossed the English Channel to France. The Parisian club Fémina Sport organised the first of many matches.
  • December 5th 1921 : « The game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged » : The Football Association (FA) moved to ban its members from allowing women’s football to be played at their grounds
  • 1941 : Although the Vichy regime was in favour of women’s sport, it “strictly forbade” the practice in 1941. Football was deemed “harmful to women ».
  • 1969-1970 : English, French and German federations finally recognise women’s football. By this time, half a century of progress had been lost.

Women’s soccer since 1990

  • 1991 : The first Women’s World Cup was held in China. It was won by the United States who was about to dominate world football for the years to come. 
1991 : USA won the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup
  • 2018 : The Norwegian Ada Hegerberg become the first woman to win the Ballon d’Or. She entered in the history of women’s soccer.
  • 2019 : The year of all records. The 8th edition of the World Cup was held in France and saw the United States win for the 4th time. “More than a sporting event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 was a cultural phenomenon,” said Gianni Infantino. Some figures : 
  • 1.12 billion : Total viewers during the competition
  • 82.18 million : Average live audience during the final between USA and the Netherlands, the most-watched women’s football match in history – up 56 per cent on the 2015 final. 

According to estimates in a UNESCO report, there were 33 million female practitioners worldwide in 2019!

Women’s soccer is growing in Europe but just as much in North America. The United States has been the leading nation for a total of 12 years since 2003 and Canada recently won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

In this context, Spain RUSH-SPF was delighted to welcome its first two Rush players, Ava and Hope. They came with us for a month and confirmed to us how much women’s soccer is good.

Stay tuned for more content about their training camp

Ava and Hope during a match against Levante UD