Official: Manchester United announce plans for their first-ever professional women’s team

Ed Woodward

Manchester United have finally announced the plans of having their first ever professional women’s team which will compete in the second tier of the Women’s Super League.

Manchester United are amongst those rare breeds of footballing giants who do not have their women’s team. In the Premier League, the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City boast of having their women’s team and now the Red Devils have joined the fray as well. In fact, United were the only side in the Premier League to not to have a women’s team.

However, the club have officially confirmed that an application to join the second tier of the Women’s Super League has been submitted to the Football Association (FA). In an official statement released by the club, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said,

“We are pleased to announce that the club intends to establish its first ever professional women’s team and has submitted an application to enter WSL2. The FA has provided excellent support through the process and we believe that launching a team in WSL2 would give many more of our graduates from the regional talent club the chance to establish themselves as first team players.

“The Manchester United women’s team must be built in the same image and with the same principles as the men’s first team and offer academy players a clear route to top-level football within the club.”

As the Guardian quotes, the team’s regional talent club is run via the United foundation and in an official statement, the United hierarchy stated that the team would be based at The Cliff, which hosts some Manchester United academy matches.

The club statement read,

Manchester United has submitted an application to the Football Association to establish a professional women’s team in the second tier of the Women’s Super League.

If successful, the move would provide a career pathway for players who graduate from the long-established and highly successful girls’ regional talent club which has seen some 15 of its graduates playing international football this season alone. The squad would be based at the club’s historic training centre at The Cliff [formerly the senior men’s’ venue].”

Manchester United partnered with the South Manchester Girls’ Football League in 2016 and saw a subsequent rise in the participation (41% to be specific). Adding to it, a report from BBC expects that the trials for the team will be held in June this year.

The FA decided to restructure the model for next season, hence the existing tier one and tier-two clubs were forced to re-apply for their 2018-19 licences. This gave the clubs from outside the existing WSL system a chance to apply for the remaining spaces.

As many as 15 applications were received by the FA for both tiers before the deadline of March 9.