Exactly 100 years ago Sunday, the Football Association effectively banned women’s soccer in England. It wasn’t until five decades later in 1970 that the ban was finally lifted.
Now, another 50 years on, Chelsea FC Women’s dominant 3-0 victory over Arsenal is a testament to how far the women’s game has been able to persevere and even flourish.
Sunday’s Women’s FA Cup victory is the fourth and final jewel in Chelsea’s 2021 domestic quadruple crown, which also includes the FA Community Shield, FA Women’s League Cup, and Continental Cup. The team’s dominance this year – with great contributions from out players Sam Kerr, Magdalena Eriksson and Pernille Harder – shows what real investment in women’s soccer and the talent of its players can pull off.
Over 40,000 people watched the match live at Wembley Stadium, with a further 1.3 million tuning in to the BBC’s televised coverage and broadcasts in over 40 countries.
Today's 50th FA Cup final is a celebration - especially of the resilience and doggedness of hidden women over many decades fighting to overturn the ban imposed 50 years before and get the game to the incredible place it is today, in spite of the ban and constant challenges. https://t.co/ZMHSFUYbq5— Maggie Murphy (@MaggieMrphy) December 5, 2021
Fran Kirby scored the first goal for Chelsea, followed up by an impressive brace by Kerr, for which she was awarded Player of the Match in her first ever FA Cup final.
“For your friends and family watching back home, what’s your message for them?” An exuberant Kerr was asked in a postgame interview.
“I love you guys. I wish you could be here. These are the moments as a player that you play and wish your family was here, but they’re probably all home,” she responded. “My girlfriend is here – that’s why I had to put on a show!”
Sam Kerr has been public about her relationship with US women’s national team player Kristie Mewis since the Tokyo Olympics, and the pair have been very supportive of each other’s careers on the pitch. Kerr has also previously dated NWSL’s Nikki Stanton for several years before their quiet split in early 2021.
On the Arsenal side of the finals, it was a disappointing end for striker Vivianne Miedema, but her GOAT status in the league is still unimpeachable.
Last week, the Dutch national team star was voted BBC’s female footballer of the year, and she holds the honors of being both the Netherlands’ and Women’s Super League all-time leading goal scorer.
Just last month, she broke fellow teammate Nikita Parris’ all-time record by scoring 50 goals in 50 games, and became the only player in FAWSL history to score against every single team they have faced in the competition.
Miedema is currently in a relationship with her Arsenal teammate Lisa Evans.