Leeds football club Hyde Park FC hoping for Lioness history as they praise legacy of Women's Euros
The Lionesses are hoping to make history tonight as they face Sweden in the monumental home semi-final of the Euros.
And a Leeds football team will be cheering them on – as they praised the lasting impact the tournament has had on women's football.
Leeds Hyde Park FC’s women+ team was launched around two years ago, at which time, uptake for the team was small.
More recently, however, the team has grown “massively”, and the club's head coach Chloe Marshall said the Euros had led to more interest in the sport.
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Chloe told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The greatest thing for me as a coach is that people see women playing at a high level and it really increases engagement.
“When we started, we had about 11 people at a game, but now we have two teams, and there are talks of starting a third."
Due to the sport’s rising popularity with younger audiences, LHPFC have also recently launched a junior women’s team.
“We have a lot of younger people coming in and It's really great that they can have these public role models,” Chloe added.
“A lot of girls who come to us haven't engaged with watching football before.
"They’ve watched the men’s football and not been able to relate, and thought ‘that's nothing like the game I play’, but this makes it relatable, people are watching and thinking, ‘I could be like her if I wanted.’”
Chloe also described the contrast between the sport’s current popularity and her experience of women’s football growing up.
She said: “Growing up in Scarborough, I had to travel around two hours to play games.
"But now there's local sides, we're getting more teams and new people coming into the game and it’s really nice to see that.
“If you look back over the years, men’s sport has dominated generally, but women’s sport is now becoming much bigger."
Chloe said the team were hopeful for the England squad ahead of tonight’s semi-final against Sweden, and Sunday’s final should they reach it.
“We’ve got to beat the best teams to win, so bring it on,” she said.