Women's football only started gaining traction in the late 20th century. Prior to that, women playing football were frowned upon and it was essentially a taboo. It was considered "un-womanlike" to participate in a men's sport. But there have been some incredible stories of women's football which have inspired a generation of women to embrace the sport.
Dick, Kerr Ladies - Women's football's most popular team
In Preston, northwest Lancashire, W. B. Dick and John Kerr operated a rail and tram equipment manufacturing company. During World War I, women began working in industries, replacing men who were serving in the military.
Dick, Kerr's female employees challenged their male coworkers to a football game in 1917. They created their own women's football team and later went on to organize matches against male and female opponents to collect money for war charities. Dick, Kerr Ladies were playing to sold-out crowds by 1920.
Everton's Goodison Park famously hosted a game in which Dick, Kerr Ladies FC played against St Helen's Ladies. The match was played on Boxing Day in 1920 and attracted a record 53,000 fans - a world record for the highest attendance for a women's football match.
This world-record attendance for a women's club match was broken 99 years later on the 17th of March, 2019. On that day, 60,739 people crammed into the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid to watch Atlético Madrid play FC Barcelona in a Spanish league match.
Women's football's heightened popularity and the Football Association's resentment
Women's football was at the height of its popularity in 1921. Dick, Kerr Ladies won three and drew three out of nine matches against male teams during a tour of the United States the following year. However, the Football Association was starting to get concerned and threatened by a team that was attracting larger spectators than the men's game.
The FA barred all women from playing football on its member clubs' fields in 1921. Surprisingly, the prohibition lasted for 50 years. As a result, interest in women's football waned, and Dick, Kerr Ladies folded in 1926. Nonetheless, the club established a lasting legacy by demonstrating that women could play football in a competitive and entertaining manner.