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Overview of English Women’s Soccer Leagues

While the specific date that women’s football developed in England is unclear, there has been some indication that women were involved in the sport since medieval times. It more formally developed during the end of the 19th century, just as football in England was becoming more formalized, with a codified set of laws dictating the game.

In the United Kingdom, women’s football was most prominent in Scotland. In fact, on May 1881, a team of English women traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, to play a series of football matches against Mrs Graham XI, a women’s football team formed by Helen Graham Matthews. This team was widely considered the first British women’s football team and was known as a pioneering team for the sport. These matches ultimately started a more formalized version of women’s football in the United Kingdom. When the matches in Edinburgh got out of hand, riots erupted among the game’s 5,000-person audience, subsequently resulting in women’s football becoming banned in Scotland.

As a result, Helen Graham Matthews moved to England to set up a new club called the Lady Footballers with football player Nettie Honeyball. Honeyball would later found a team of her own in 1894, called the British Ladies’ Football Club. As these two teams toured England, more and more women’s football teams began to form, Given many women experienced harassment when they played football, it was not uncommon for female players to use pseudonyms to mask their identities. Eventually, over time, women’s football games were played on the same pitches used by their all-male counterparts, and started to attract similar-size audiences, sometimes even a larger crowd.

Women’s football in England is structured using a pyramid system, with the following main tiers:

Tier 1 — The FA Women’s Super League

Tier 2 — The FA Women’s Championship

Tier 3 — The FA Women’s National League

Northern Premier Division / Southern Premier Division

Tier 4 — The FA Women’s National League

Division 1 North, Division 1 Midlands, Division 1 South East, Division 1 South West 


Women’s Super League (Qusai)
Women’s Championship (Henry)







Women’s National League (Qusai)
Underlying Issues in English Women’s Soccer (Qusai)








[1] “Women’s Football in England.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Apr. 2019,

[2] “British Ladies’ Football Club.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Mar. 2019,

[3] “The Website for the English Football Association, the Emirates FA Cup and the England Football Team.”,