On the eve of Women’s Football Weekend, Marieanne Spacey-Cale spoke about the journey the game has been on since her start in football and how Southampton FC Women are forging a path of their own during this global rise.
There are few people who have experienced the rise of women’s football quite like Spacey-Cale.
Starting out at the age of 13 with British Oxygen, winning multiple honours at the likes of Fulham and Arsenal, before earning her coaching pedigree with the English national team, Spacey-Cale is now riding the crest of the wave in terms of women’s football at Southampton.
It’s fair to say many things have changed since the early days of park football with her father's team in the borough of Sutton:
“I was 13 already playing in Women’s Football and for me that was great,” said Spacey-Cale. “That was the only avenue I had. It helped me to become the player I did become because I was always around women’s football and not necessarily age group football.
Marieanne Spacey-CalePeople were enjoying their time and football was that vehicle.
“I couldn’t play against the boys but I would go over to the park with my Dad’s football team and play with them. It was a great learning point for me but these days there’s such a better pathway. You get girls coming in from grassroots level and playing right the way up at the national team in the senior level.
“For us we were still very much trying to gain ground, knock down a few doors and say women’s football is really positive. I think over the years it’s been a real battle and there have been some pioneers of the game to get us where we are today.
“That was a real big part of me coming to Southampton because I wanted to feel part of something that was moving in the same direction.
“It’s become a real topical conversation, we’re part of a lot of big conversations that go on. We’ve got some real passionate people around the club who are buying in to what we want to achieve.
“I love working for the club, I love the people in and around the club and we want to breed this success to pay back how we’ve been accepted and how we’ve been supported.”