From lost generations of female footballing talents to inspiring the next, MK Dons already have their plans in motion to capitalise on the new-found love for the women’s game.
With a team on the up, playing at a stadium which hosted four European Championship matches, MK Dons Women are looking to build and improve upon last season’s results on the field, while off it continue to develop the legacy the tournament has helped bring to the game.
The legacy though means more than just encouraging young girls to play the game, but to become involved in all areas of football – whether that’s on the field as a coach or a match official, or behind the scenes to continue to help grow the game and make it more accessible for everyone.
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“It’s about being able to highlight what opportunities are out there,” said Jack Sharp, Head of Football and Performance for MK Dons Women.
“We’re not talking about elite players, but everything else - grassroots participation with young people, but to the missing generation that maybe didn’t have the opportunity in the game, who have been inspired by the Lionesses to jump back into football again. And it extends to education as well.
“It’s not just about kicking a ball about, but can we get more coaches, referees, media and marketing roles. That will be the real legacy of the Euros, not just how the WSL teams grow, but how the community around the women’s game grows.
“That starts with clubs like us trying to play their part by having all these programmes to explore the game.”
After the hugely successful European Championships and the four matches at Stadium MK, Sharp said the legacy of the tournament now rests with how people engage with the sport from here on.
He continued: “There isn’t a physical thing the Euros have left behind but what he has done is attract the eyes of people in Milton Keynes. We had 28,000 people watching women’s football at Stadium MK and for us, that is massive. And it was an emotional evening because it shows there is a buy in for the sport. The appetite is there.
“We had Germany, who have been the team to beat for the last decade, playing where we play. Hopefully, more people come back.”
To see how you can get involved in women’s football at MK Dons, visit: https://www.mkdonsset.com/weuro22-legacy