Wrexham lecturer hopes Lioness success will create positive legacy for women’s football
A lecturer hopes the success of the Women’s Euros will help to create a positive legacy for the game.
Sara Hilton has seen the women’s game grow from humble beginnings to the toast of the sporting world after the Lionesses’ triumph against Germany at Euro 2022.
The former Welsh international footballer, now a senior lecturer at Wrexham Glyndwr University, hopes the hugely successful tournament can provide an inspirational boost to the women’s game at all levels.
She said: “The United Kingdom was captivated by the excitement of the Women’s Euros. Indeed, history has been made and as someone who played during the times when the female game had no funding, interest or support, I could not be happier!”
But the women’s game has not always had the global profile it enjoys today and Sara, from Flint, faced obstacles on her journey to success as a coach at domestic and international levels.
“As a young player during the 1990s and 2000s, not being able to play football during PE lessons, or with particular teams, was nothing new. Funding was always a huge issue too – when I attended my first North Wales regional camp at 12, we weren’t allowed to wear the Welsh badge owing to some political issue, so to see the opportunities available now to future young players is amazing.
“Although I’m a proud Welsh fan, I’m thrilled to see the success of the Lionesses and welcome the collateral changes and impact to come. Indeed, it will take some time to assess the real impact of the tournament but here’s hoping the legacy of the 2022 Euros will be nothing but positive for the women’s game.
“Football has been labelled as the current fastest growing female sport in the world. Seeing the stadiums at capacity, boasting record numbers of fans and spectators has really been a sight to behold. The stories of all the young girls being captivated by a sport that some of them had never been interested in before is truly something special.”
Sara represented Wales as a teenager before pursuing coaching when her playing days were cut short by injury.
She is now a senior lecturer in Footballing and Coaching Science at WGU, holds a UEFA A Licence and has previously managed the Wales Under 19, Connah’s Quay Nomads and Crewe Alexandra women’s sides.
“As a university, we’re passionate about female empowerment. I’m fortunate to have experienced the support of the university through the Advance HE Female Leadership programme, which was an excellent experience,” she said.
“This is something that we as a department look to bring into our sport programmes and it would be great to have more women looking to start their career journeys with us.
“Within the BSc (Hons) Football Coaching and the Performance Specialist degree, we explore various scientific elements of the beautiful game across both the male and female game.
“We’re passionate about supporting the growth of the female game here in Wales and provide internships and placements to student across the spectrum of female football.
“One of our current students, Laura Davies, has gained some excellent experience with the Football Association of Wales over the past two years.”
For more information about the BSc (Hons) Football Coaching and the Performance Specialist degree, visit WGU website.
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