Women's World Cup 2019: Meet The Fans With A Serious Case Of Football Fever

These women's England and Scotland teams' supporters will inspire you to watch every match

Perhaps it was the hot weather, or the chance for post-EU referendum Britain to find some common ground, but football fever well and truly swept the nation last summer. And it’s time to do it all again.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is upon us, with both England and Scotland competing in the tournament, which is hosted by France this year from 7 June to 7 July.

Scotland’s women’s team will play their first ever World Cup Match on Sunday 9 June. To add to the excitement, their hotly-anticipated debut will be against England’s Lionesses, who finished third at the last World Cup and are among the favourites to win this year.

This time, football really could be coming home. And yet, a poll of 2,000 people conducted by Powerleague found just 31% of women plan to watch a World Cup match. Ladies, we can do better than that.

To get you in the sporting spirit, we spoke to England and Scotland fans who are well and truly pumped for women players to take centre stage.

‘I’m looking forward to spending time in the fan zones’ – Kyle Thornton, 32, from York.

Kyle Thornton (right) with his wife Laura (left)
Kyle Thornton
Kyle Thornton (right) with his wife Laura (left)

Kyle Thornton will be heading to Nice with his wife, Laura, to watch the two England group games and two other group matches.

“We’re both extremely excited for the tournament. We went out to Holland for the Euros in 2017 and made loads of new friends,” he says. “I’m looking forward to spending time in the fan zones and just showing as much support for the girls as possible.”

Thornton is most looking forward to England v Scotland. “It’s a nice friendly rivalry so the atmosphere should be amazing for that one,” he says. “The build up and media coverage has been incredible and it’s what the girls deserve. I hope interest continues to grow and lots of girls are inspired to chase their dreams.”

He says women who play football at every level are “so humble and have so much time for the fans”. They appreciated the support and Thornton hopes “it grows and grows because these girls deserve the world”.

‘I’ve been following football since I was a little girl’ – Kerry Reid, 35, from Pitlochry

Kerry Reid

As a lifelong football fan, Kerry Reid, from Pitlochry, says being able to watch Scotland play in the Women’s World Cup is a “dream come true”.

She’s convinced bosses at her workplace (McKays Hotel in Pitlochry) to get in the sporting spirit and colleagues are busy decorating the bar in flags and bunting ahead of Scotland’s first game. They’ve also created some special cocktails to serve on the day.

“Although I won’t be able to make it to Nice this weekend, I’ll be watching on the big screen with the rest of the staff,” Reid says. “Getting behind this team of inspirational women is an opportunity for me to share my love of the game and showcase Scotland in an international tournament. I’ve been following football since I was a little girl and being able to share my love for the game in my home town will make this world cup extra special.”

‘I’ll be wearing my England shirt for every match’ – Chloe Leadbeater, 25, from Swindon

Chloe Leadbeater (Left)
Chloe Leadbeater (Left)

Chloe Leadbeater plays for Swindon Supermarine FC, so she’s excited about the growing status of women’s football. She plans to watch the matches with teammates or at home.

“I’ll be wearing my England shirt for every match,” she says. “I feel quite excited. I watched the 2015 tournament and it was quite an amazing thing to be witnessing. Whilst I wasn’t out in Canada, I felt part of it and it’s amazing to see how the game has grown since that.”

Her excitement for the World Cup is paired with expectation. “This Lioness team has the talent, togetherness, grit and determination to go and win it. I hope they do us proud,” she says, adding that a successful tournament could catapult the game even further into the mainstream media.

“I hope it gets taken even more seriously and that people really invest in women’s football at all levels,” she says.

‘I can’t wait for it to inspire the next generation’ – Chloe Woolaway, 22, from Canterbury

Chloe Woolaway

Chloe Woolaway is currently sports president at Canterbury Christ Church Students’ Union, so she’s using her platform to promote the Women’s World Cup to students.

“We are showing the England v Scotland game in our Union lounge where I hope to watch the majority of the tournament, which will be good atmosphere,” she says.

For the round of16, Woolaway is heading to Valenciennes, France, hoping to watch England play and then she plans to be in London for the final, soaking up the atmosphere with other England fans.

“I’m really excited and always am when it comes to women’s football,” she says. “There’s a great buzz around this World Cup and being a female footballer myself, I can’t wait for it to inspire the next generation and hopefully get more students from where I work involved.”

‘It’s our time’ – Jane Roberts, 56, from East Sussex

Jane Roberts

Jane Roberts describes herself as “a massive women’s football fan” and will be travelling to Nice to watch England’s match against Japan.

“The build up has been unreal, there’s so much media coverage for the Women’s World Cup in France, it’s even on billboards at the airport,” she says.
“I’m totally distracted by it, from buying Panini stickers to grabbing every magazine with one of the Lionesses featured and of course the tournament wall poster so I can record every match.”

She hasn’t packed yet for her upcoming trip to France but jokes “boy, when I do my excitement levels will soar and once I land in Nice it’s straight to the fan zone”.

“I’m convinced this is the year for women’s football to really take off, the kids are loving the Lionesses and how they give their time. It’s okay now to be a female and want to play football, it’s our time.”

“I’m very excited to watch the Lionesses play.” - Emma Thwaites, 24, from Winchester

Emma Thwaites

Emma Thwaites plans to watch as many World Cup matches as she can and will be cheering the team along with her friends during all of the England games.

“I’m very excited to watch the Lionesses play, especially as this is, for some players, their first World Cup matches,” she says. “I watched the England vs New Zealand friendly match in Brighton and the atmosphere was amazing for the ladies. I’m very looking forward to watching the England vs Argentina match.”

Thwaites hopes the tournament will help inspire even more women in the next generation to play football. “I feel like the impact that the Lionesses are having on young girls to achieve their goals and push aside stereotypes is incredible,” she says. “I hope that England playing in the World Cup can further forward women’s sports and give it a bigger platform.”