Cardiff Met Ladies are hoping to inspire the next generation
In the season the UEFA Women’s Champions League concludes in Cardiff, one of the city’s most successful clubs has the honour of kicking it off on Tuesday.
Cardiff Met Ladies have won three Welsh Premier Women’s League titles in a row and are Wales’ representatives in this season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League.
They host NSV Sofia, Spartak Subotica and Breidablik in qualifying Group 3 at their Cyncoed base next week and are hoping to be role models who help inspire the next generation of girls to take up the game as the buzz builds ahead of the final coming to Cardiff City Stadium on June 1.
There is a surge of interest in the sport after Wales’ successful Euro 2016 campaign and the Cardiff Met Ladies squad have spent the summer out in their community trying to inspire youngsters to fall in love with the game, as they did as young girls.
Centre back Stephanie Turner said: “Wales isn’t a very big country, so hosting the Champions League will get more girls into the game, into their local teams and getting involved.”
Right back Sophie Scherschel added: “If you find the right team and you find that you’re good at it, you can progress.
"Especially in Wales, there’s such a pathway to go to that could get you into the Welsh Premier League.
“Once you win the Welsh Premier League, that’s Champions League football.”
Despite preparing for the massive challenge of hosting a tough group in Europe's biggest women's football competition, the Cardiff Met girls have reached out to girls clubs and attended our first Beatball on the Beach session in Cardiff Bay to help raise awareness of women's football in the capital.
Goalkeeper Yzzy Taylor has been a key part of this initiative and has a strong message for girls who've fallen in love with football this summer.
She said: “There are loads and loads of girls clubs out there so every girl in Wales has got a club on their doorstep that is open to them to come down and have a go.
“Once you get involved and start playing, you can realise how you can progress forward and, like us, be lucky enough to play in the Champions League and the Women’s Welsh Premier League.”
The club is also active on social media and uses that to reach out to fellow students, the community and potential new players and fans.
Their message is simple. Get out there and give football a go, they did and look where it’s got them.
Fulham academy product Scherschel said: “I tried other sports at school but once I got into football, there was nothing else that I wanted to do.”
Swansea City fan Turner added: “I didn’t know there was a local girls team until somebody pointed it out to me and once I gave it a go. I really enjoyed it.”
If you want to see the girls in Champions League action, head along to Cardiff Metropolitan’s Cyncoed Campus on one of these dates.
Tue Aug 23 - 2pm v NSV Sofia
Thu Aug 25 - 6pm v Spartak Subotica
Sun Aug 28 - 2pm v Breidablik
*Entrance is free
Click here to find out more about women's and girls' football in Wales