It’s an exciting year ahead for women’s football


Millie Simon (She/Her) looks ahead to women's football in 2024

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By Millie Simon

2024 is shaping up to be an exciting year for national and international women’s football from tournaments in the summer. To players returning following career-changing injuries and head coaches making intriguing decisions.

This year will see manager Emma Hayes leave her post at Chelsea, as she plans to move to the USA National team as head coach.

Towards the end of last year, it was announced that Hayes was leaving her role with Chelsea after thirteen years to seek “something different”. However, she will remain at Chelsea till the end of the domestic season.

Hayes’ legacy will be de-fined as one of immense success in the Women’s Super League (WSL) following four consecutive title wins, which by the end of this season could be five as Chelsea see themselves at the top of the table.

Hayes’ leadership for the US will be refreshing following their disappointing exit at the FIFA Women’s World Cup last sum-mer, where they were kicked out in penalties by Sweden. Hayes’ strong record of winning titles and trophies will be an exciting prospect for the formidable US team.

Unfortunately, Hayes’ protege, Chelsea striker Sam Kerr, announced earlier this year that she suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). In the last 18 months, approximately 195 elite players suffered an ACL injury with some consequently missing the 2023 World Cup. Many hoped that 2024 would encourage more research into the causes of the injury particularly in women, however, professional and lower-tier players are continuing to suffer from what’s being dubbed as an “epidemic”.

One positive story following the ACL crisis, is the return of many prominent players, including Arsenal’s Leah Williamson. The England captain suffered the injury in April 2023 but returned to the game earlier this year and started her first game as captain in February. Thankfully, there’s recognition that urgent action must be taken in order to protect players and the wider game.

This summer will see the Paris Olympics take place with 12 national teams competing for the gold medal. Previous gold medalists, Canada are looking to redeem themselves following an early exit in last summer’s World Cup. Unfortunately, England didn’t qualify for the Olympics since goal difference with the Netherlands saw them just miss out on a spot in the tournament.

Despite England not qualifying, Head Coach Sarina Wiegman extended her contract earlier this year until 2027, meaning England under Wiegman intend on defending their Euros title in 2025.

Another ex-citing tournament taking place this summer is the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations where 12 teams are competing for the title. For the second time in a row, Morocco are host-ing, with disgraced former Spanish manager, Jorge Vilda now managing the Moroccon side.

Surprisingly, Cameroon won’t compete this year despite not missing a single tournament in nearly 30 years. South Africa are reigning champions with 9-time champions Nigeria looking to challenge their success. Last year’s tour-nament saw a record number of fans travelling to games and the number is also set to be big this year.