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Daily Record
Daily Record
Ben Ramage

St Mirren Women boss Kate Cooper urges Scotland to capitalise on England's Euro success

St Mirren Women head coach Kate Cooper believes England’s historic Euros success was a victory for all of women’s football.

Now she wants to see the Lionesses’ famous win against Germany in front of a record-breaking crowd used as a catalyst to get even more women and young girls involved in the sport.

The Buddies boss was more than happy to put aside any rivalry with the Auld Enemy as she watched England lift the Euro 2022 trophy in front of 87,192 fans at Wembley Stadium.

Cooper insists the entire tournament proved there is no longer any substance to historic claims there’s little or no demand for women’s football, as either a spectator or a player.

She hopes the incredible celebratory scenes in London help to inspire more youngsters to get involved, while also calling on councils and football associations to provide the opportunities and facilities to make that possible.

She told Renfrewshire Live Sport: “The Scotland and England rivalry is always there, but I think a lot of us across the UK were cheering England on in that final.

“It definitely was a win for women’s football. The exposure has been incredible and it does feel like there’s a change coming.

“As long as I can remember there’s been this saying that there’s no demand for women’s football or no market for it.

“That is simply not true. We cannot allow that mentality to ever be presented as fact again.

“It was only 1975 when the SFA allowed women to start playing football again. When I was born women were banned from playing football. The progress since then has been massive and it’s up to us to now to keep that progress going strong.

“In women’s football the onus is always on us to take this kind of exposure and capitalise on it. We need to seize the opportunity.

“For me the most important factor now is access. We have more girls than ever before wanting to play football, but without the chance or facilities to do so the opportunity is wasted.

“Girls need equal access to football at school. They need access to teams and facilities to play in.

“We need to be prepared for a surge and I’m already receiving messages every day since that final from players hoping to play for us.

“That’s been incredible but our squad is already full and settled. It’s about making sure every girl or woman that wants to play football can, at any level.”

While the coverage and success of Euro 2022 has accelerated the growth of women’s football internationally, Cooper is still hoping to see that desire to get involved trickle down to local level too.

She hopes the opportunity to become more than just a fan of St Mirren Women will help entice more people in Renfrewshire to get behind the team this season.

Cooper said: “We have seen the incredible numbers that turn out for international games. We saw that with Scotland at Hampden too only recently.

“The real challenge now is getting supporters along weekly to support their local team and not just at major competitions.

“That would be a real legacy for the Euros.

"What I would say is that coming along to support us or any other women’s team wouldn’t just make you a fan of a team.

"This is chance to be there at the start, at the forefront as a team and a sport takes shape.”

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