Young female football players celebrating

Manchester FA makes historic ‘#WhatIf’ pledge to support women’s football

Manchester FA is delighted to be inviting our youngest female players in the region to watch the first ever professional women’s Manchester derby

It has been an incredible summer for women’s football and a whole new generation of players have been inspired to take up football in Greater Manchester. To continue the momentum, Manchester FA is delighted to be inviting our youngest female players in the region to watch the first ever professional women’s Manchester derby, on the 7th September. 

Manchester FA will cover the cost of a ticket for every player and coach at each of the 33 Manchester FA Wildcats centres, for the game between Manchester City Women FC v Manchester United Women FC at the Etihad Stadium.

A girls’ journey into the game starts with Wildcats, the FA’s flagship programme for girls aged 5-11 and so we want to inspire them to continue to play for years to come by making this pledge, in support of Women In Football’s ‘#WhatIf’ campaign.

The campaign has seen organisations across the country make their own pledges to support women in football, whether that be playing, coaching or working behind the scenes. Manchester FA is delighted to be showing support to the national #WhatIf campaign, which has already inspired thousands of women and girls across the country to get more involved in football. 

Football Development Officer for Women and Girls’ at Manchester FA, Katherine Jones, explains: “The match in September presents a huge opportunity  for us to really inspire players, coaches and volunteers from across the grassroots game and celebrate the fact we have two of the best women’s teams in the country, right here in Manchester. It will be a very special occasion as the game is being played at the Etihad Stadium in front of thousands of fans and we cannot wait to show our youngest players just what is possible in the women’s game.”

“As a county FA we support players of all ages in the county in entering the grassroots game, from 5 year old girls at Wildcats, all the way through to the women’s recreational leagues and walking football, for those who prefer a slower-paced game. There’s something for everyone in Manchester and we hope by encouraging everyone in Manchester to come along and watch this prestigious match, they will feel inspired to play, regardless of age or gender!”

Jane Purdon, CEO of Women in Football, adds: “This is such a groundbreaking pledge by Manchester FA, in line with the groundbreaking match between Manchester City WFC and Manchester United WFC at the Etihad. Inspiring the next generation of girls and women to fall in love with football and get involved in the game is exactly what Women in Football's #WhatIf campaign is all about; and seeing this in action in such a tangible way is fantastic.”

In celebration of the first professional women’s derby, Manchester City are giving 3 free kids tickets with every adult ticket purchased and each local Wildcats centre has been contacted by Manchester FA with information of how to claim tickets for their coaches and players. 

We will also be sharing details in the coming weeks about how else Manchester FA will be supporting the fixture at the start of September. In the meantime, if you know a young girl aged 5-11, who would like to have their first taste of football and make new friends through fun weekly sessions, you can find your nearest session, here

Finally, if you want to get your hands on the hottest tickets in town for the first ever FA WSL Manchester Derby, click here.