Women's association football, usually known as women's football or women's soccer, is the most prominent team sport played by women around the globe. It is played at the professional level in numerous countries throughout the world and 176 national teams participate internationally.
The history of women's football has seen major competitions being launched at both the national and international levels. Women's football has faced many struggles throughout its history. Although its first golden age occurred in the United Kingdom in the early 1920s, with matches attracting large crowds (one match achieved over 50,000 spectators), The Football Association initiated a ban in 1921 that disallowed women's football games from taking place on the grounds used by its member clubs. This ban remained in effect until July 1971.
The Saudi Arabia women's national football team would be the national team representing the kingdom in international football. However, the team does not yet exist because of influence of religious leaders in Saudi Arabia and systematic discrimination against women's sport, active opposition of political leaders and sport administrators. International pressure has come to bear on the country to field a women's team, and FIFA now allows the hijab to be worn in competition. A meeting at the College of Business Administration in Jeddah was seen as a possible first step in a team eventually being created.
Despite a lack of official support for a national team and women's football in general, women have self-organised their own teams and play games out of the sight of men. Created in 2006, King's United women football club was the first women's football club in the country. No official data is kept regarding participation rates for women football players.
Megan Rapinoe ( (listen); born July 5, 1985) is an American professional soccer midfielder and Olympic gold medalist who currently plays for Seattle Reign FC in the National Women's Soccer League. She is also a member of the United States women's national soccer team. She previously played for the Chicago Red Stars, Philadelphia Independence, and magicJack in Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) as well as Olympique Lyonnais in France's Division 1 Féminine.
Rapinoe is internationally known for her crafty style of play and her precise cross to Abby Wambach in the 122nd minute of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinals against Brazil, which resulted in an equalizer goal and eventual win for the Americans after a penalty kick shootout. During the 2012 London Olympics, she scored three goals and tallied a team-high four assists to lead the United States to a gold medal. She is the first player, male or female, to score a Goal Olimpico at the Olympic Games.
Rapinoe is an advocate for numerous LGBT organizations including the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Athlete Ally. In 2013, she was awarded the Board of Directors Award by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. She is sponsored by Nike, Samsung and DJO Global and has appeared in multiple promotional pieces for clothing company, Wildfang, as well as Nike.
The FA WSL, formerly given the working title FA Women's Super League, is the highest division of women's football in England. The league is run by the Football Association and began in April 2011. An initial eight teams currently compete in the league, which replaced the FA Women's Premier League as the highest level of women's football in England. As yet there is no system of promotion and relegation with the Women's Premier League, which continues to play a winter season. WSL seasons run from April until October, with teams playing 14 matches each, totalling 56 matches. The WSL champions and runners-up qualify for the UEFA Women's Champions League the following season. The current champions are Liverpool, who won the title in the 2013 season.
The official name The FA WSL and logo of the league were announced on 19 November 2010.