In this article, we take a deeper look at Sunderland’s Women’s Football Club and answer critical things you need to know, including:
- Sunderland Women F.C.’s history
- The most notable Sunderland Ladies A.F.C. achievements
- Key SAFC Women players and club members.
- Best UK betting sites for wagering on British clubs.
Sunderland Women’s Football Club History
In 2010 Four of the Team Were Selected for England U20 Training Camp
Lucy Bronze, Jordan Nobbs, Rachael Laws and Demi Stokes (with Lucy Staniforth on standby) have all been selected for the England Women’s U20 Training Camp. The camp took place in Manchester from 11-15 January 2010.
“I was delighted that four Sunderland girls had been selected,” said manager Mick Mulhern.
He was also pleased to welcome me back to the club Lucy Bronze.
- Ashley Baker – University of Georgia
- Rebecca Spencer – Arsenal LFC
- Lauren Davey – Watford LFC
- Rachael Laws – Sunderland Women
- Gemma Bonner – Leeds Carnegie
- Lucy Bronze – Sunderland Women
- Gilly Flaherty – Arsenal LFC
- Kerys Harrop – Birmingham City LFC
- Jodie Jacobs – Chelsea LFC
- Chelsea Weston – Doncaster Rovers Belles LFC
- Melissa Sutcliffe – Leeds Carnegie
- Lindsay Cunningham -Nottingham Forest LFC
- Remi Allen – Leicester City LFC
- Isobel Christiansen – Birmingham City LFC
- Laura Coombs – Arsenal LFC
- Michelle Hinnigan – Everton LFC
- Jessica Holbrook – Everton LFC
- Jordan Nobbs – Sunderland Women
- Abbie Prosser – Arsenal LFC
- Toni Duggan – Everton LFC
- Lauren Bruton – Arsenal LFC
- Jade Moore – Leeds Carnegie
- Demi Stokes – Sunderland Women
- Sarah Kempston – Chelsea LFC
Following Sunderland Women F.C.’s most successful season, which saw the team win the National Premier League Cup and defend their National Premier League title, Sunderland Women’s Football Club struggled to emulate the same success in 2012/13.
Although Sunderland Women’s Football club won the league with 45 points (2 more than in 2011/12), they crashed out of F.A. Women’s Cup in the quarterfinals and exited the F.A. League Cup in the semis.
The 2014 season was not better than the previous term, but that doesn’t mean that SAFC Ladies didn’t achieve anything. For the 4th year in a row, Sunderland Women’s Football Club won the regular season – earning promotion to the Women’s Super League 1 with 47 league points and a 15-2-1 record. Yet, they didn’t win any titles, finishing the F.A. Cup in round 5 and ending their FA WSL Cup campaign in the group stage.
In 2015, Sunderland Women F.C. ended their WSL1 campaign in a solid 4th place, ending the regular season with a 6-2-6 record and 20 points, coming 10 points short of a Champions League promotion. Their FA WSL Cup runs again finished in the group stage, while SAFC Ladies couldn’t reach beyond Round 3 of the F.A. Women’s Cup.
The 2016 season was one to forget as Sunderland Women’s Football Club struggled to deliver in the WSL1, ending the regular season in 7th place with a 2-4-10 record, finishing 27 points behind a top-2 finish. Still, the Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies team showed up strong in the F.A. Women’s Cup, where they reached the semifinals and lost against the eventual champions, Arsenal.
The 2017/18 season marked Sunderland Women’s Football Club’s worst season, but not necessarily due to the team’s lack of success.
The Ladies finished the season in 7th place with a 5-1-12 record – 12 points behind Rachel Furness’s current team, Liverpool – which would be enough to keep their spot in the upper league. However, the club failed to apply for the license and suffered relegation into the F.A. Women’s National League.
Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies’ squad still did well in F.A. Women’s Cup, where they reached the quarterfinals, but all that was in vain due to the management’s mishap.
The 2018/19 season marked the beginning of a new journey for the Sunderland A.F.C. Women’s squad, which was forced to debut in the WNL North. Unfortunately, despite hailing from the W.S.L., the Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies’ team couldn’t secure promotion, finishing the season in second place.
In the 2019/20 season, Sunderland Women’s Football Club looked poised to secure promotion back to the big league. Despite finishing the season atop the league table, Sunderland Women’s Football Club did not get their ticket back to the W.S.L. because the WNL season was curtailed with all results erased (due to COVID), meaning there was no promotion or relegation.
A highly disappointing year was succeeded with a very underwhelming season in the WNL North, where the Ladies finished in 5th place, coming 10 points short of winning the division, extending their stay in the lower division football league.
Sunderland Women’s Football Club Stars
Despite Sunderland Women’s Football Club’s shaky results over the last few years, the SAFC Women’s Football Club is known for fostering some of the best female football players in England. When some left the club’s fall from grace, many remained impressed.
Lucia Roberta Tough Bronze, known as Lucy Bronze, is a professional footballer who started her career as a right-back at Sunderland in 2007. She remained with the club for three years before leaving to play for Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Lyon, and Barcelona, who he joined ahead of the 2022 season, and the England national team.
Known as one of the best defenders in the world, Lucy Bronze also has four goals to her name across 100 appearances. Yet her career highlights include her being a 3-time back-to-back UEFA Women’s Champions League champion (2017/2020).
Kelly McDougall is one of the most iconic A.F.C. players and a long-serving club member. The 38-year-old started her professional career with Everton Ladies in 1988, but her career took off when she switched to Sunderland.
|Kelly McDougall Profile|
|Born:||Whiston, Liverpool: 22 January 1984|
|How did you become involved in Women’s football?||Playing football with dad and grandad in a park, then joined a boy’s team Rainhill United|
|Ambition within football:||Play internationally and go as high as I possibly can do|
|The person you admire within football and why?:||Kelly Smith and Kim Little. Her movement is fantastic|
|The person you admire outside of football and why?||Family and friends who always support me and who have always been there. A little shout out to magic mosh, who manages to fix me even when I’m unfixable|
|Favourite type of music:||Electric, but I do love the power ballads and Celine Dion|
|How do you spend your spare time when not involved with football:||Doing school work/marking, out with the dog. Cycle rides with twinnie with my flask, gym and being around great friends|
|Worst habit (that you wish to disclose to everyone!):||Making the team have subtitles on the bus on every away trip 🙂|
McDougall joined the A.F.C. Ladies in 2008 and has remained with the club until 2016, establishing herself as one of the best midfielders in the club’s history. In her first year with the club, McDougall helped Sunderland secure promotion and reach the F.A. Women’s Cup final, yet even her stoppage time goal wasn’t enough for Sunderland to emerge as the champions.
Rachel Furness is a 34-year-old central midfielder and one of the most recognisable names in the history of the Sunderland Ladies’ Football Club. She made her professional debut with Sunderland in 2004 and remained with the club until 2006, then left to play for Newcastle and Grindavik before returning to Sunderland in 2010.
In her second stint with Sunderland, which lasted for six years (2010/2016), Rachel Furness helped the club win the Premier League title and played a crucial role in the team until her departure in 2016.
|Rachel Furness Profile|
|Born:||19 June 1988|
|How did you become involved in Women’s football?:||My primary school teacher took me to a Chester le Street open day|
|Ambition within football:||To reach 100 caps with my country and to achieve the treble with Sunderland|
|The person you admire within football and why?:||Steven Gerrard was a born leader and die-hard midfielder. Good eye for a pass|
|The person you admire outside of football and why?:||My mam, strong woman, the only woman I know who can do 50 jobs at once!|
|Favourite type of music:||Anything in the charts|
|How do you spend your spare time when not involved with football:||Organising other ways to play football, haha! Spending time with friends|
|Worst habit (that you wish to disclose to everyone!):||Turning a light on every time I enter a room, even if its bright daylight|
As one of England’s best female football players, Jordan Nobb started her professional football career with Sunderland A.F.C., which she joined in 2000 at just eight years of age. She was a part of the SAFC U21 team before getting promoted to the main roster, where she has spent three years, scoring nine goals across 29 appearances.
Despite being one of the best midfielders in the club’s history, Jordan Nobb left Sunderland in 2010 and joined Arsenal, where she continues to play.
A product of Sunderland Women’s Football Club’s youth academy, Keira Ramshaw is an iconic player and one of Sunderland’s most loyal members. Born in 1994, Keira Ramshaw made her first professional football steps with Sunderland as a part of the youth academy and was promoted to the main roster in 2009 at just 17 years.
Since joining the club, Keira Ramshaw has scored 67 goals for Sunderland A.F.C. across 160 appearances and established herself as a key club member. Keira Ramshaw and Sunderland seem inseparable, suggesting that once she ends her career, the club’s captain is bound to find a place in Sunderland as head coach, sporting director, or any other role.
|Keira Ramshaw Profile|
|Born:||12 January 1994|
|How did you become involved in Women’s football?:||Joined a team called SAFC 24/7 girls when I was five|
|Ambition within football:||To get to the highest level I can|
|The person you admire within football and why?:||Fernando Torres – always willing to do his best, a team player and achieves goals|
|The person you admire outside of football and why?:||Jessica Ennis – trains hard, does a lot of different events at a high level|
|Favourite type of music:||Like a lot of music but RnB|
|How do you spend your spare time when not involved with football:||Out with friends and family. Gym, road trips|
|Worst habit (that you wish to disclose to everyone!):||Obsessive use of my phone! Feel lost without it|
Grace McCatty is one of the newest additions to the Sunderland Women’s Football Club, having joined the team in 2018. But the 33-year-old didn’t need long to emerge as one of the club’s most iconic players.
Grace McCatty has spent four years with Sunderland, scored six goals as a defender and is a critical player in Sunderland’s starting XI.
They joined mid-season in 2011 and quickly established themselves in the reserve team. Robin moved up to the first team squad at the end of the 2011 season, hoping to continue her progress within the first team this season. The powerful winger who is not frightened to take on defenders.
|Robin Chidester Profile|
|Born:||Fountain Valley, California, USA – 20th August 1988|
|Joined SWFC:||December 2011|
|Position:||Right mid/Right forward|
|How did you become involved in Women’s football?:||Football is massive at the youth level in the States, especially in Virginia Beach, where I grew up, so my mom signed me up for a team when I was three years old.|
|Ambition within football:||To keep working hard and trying to improve, forming good relationships with my teammates, doing whatever I can to help the team succeed, and just playing my best for God’s glory.|
|The person you admire within football and why?:||Kelly Cagle, my coach from Virginia Tech (my uni in the States). A phenomenal player with incredible ball handling, an insane work ethic, and an unmatched passion for the game and life. A fantastic role model on and off the pitch!|
|The person you admire outside of football and why?:||My grandpa was so good at befriending all different types of people; he had an amazing sense of humour and loved his family.|
|Favourite type of music:||Lots of types…reggae, country, classical, rap, Christian, techno, hip-hop, rock|
|How do you spend your spare time when not involved with football:||Painting, reading, cooking, cycling, studying the Bible, running, drinking coffee|
|Worst habit (that you wish to disclose to everyone!):||I’m trying to break my habit by cracking my back, neck, and fingers!|
At just 25 years, Emma Kelly is one of the youngest players on the Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies’ team. Still, Kelly is viewed by many as a future star of English football, having proven herself as one of the most versatile midfielders in the league.
Jordan is a player you can always rely on to give 100%. She is a fast centre forward who can also play on the wing. Her pace is sure to trouble several defenders.
|Jordan Atkinson Profile|
|Born||8 August 1994 — Newcastle upon Tyne|
|Previous Clubs||Newcastle United Women|
|How did you get into football?||Watching my sister play at a young age|
|Favourite football memory to date?||Being part of Wayne Rooney Street Striker 2009/10|
|Which player most inspired you and why?||Wayne Rooney. After being on the show, I realised the commitment required to be at the top.|
|What was the best advice given to you by any coach?||Being part of a successful team comes from all the individuals working together — Melanie Reay.|
|Best player you’ve played with?||Abbey Joice for a season at Gateshead College|
|Toughest opponent?||College Cup final against Bristol College|
|What tip would you give a young player hoping to succeed?||Play hard, train harder. With the right attitude and commitment, anything is possible.|
Brianna Westrup joined Sunderland in 2022 as an up-and-coming defender, having started her career in the American college league with the Virginia Cavaliers, who played for three years (2015/2018). She then took a break from competing and returned to professional football in 2020 with Newcastle United before joining Rangers, with whom she won the Scottish Women’s Premier League title.
Besides fielding some of the world’s best female football players, Sunderland A.F.C. also features other prominent names occupying various positions within the club.
One of the most notable Sunderland players includes Alison Cowling, a 23-year-old player and one of the most promising goalkeepers in the female football world. She joined Sunderland ahead of the 2021/22 season alongside Alison Cowling.
Besides Cowling, the Sunderland ladies club also features other young talents, namely Faye Mullen, Megan Beer, Grace E.D.E., Emma Kelly, and forwards Emily Hutchinson and Katy Watson, around whom the club continues to build a strong future.
Sunderland Women’s Football Club Coaching Staff
Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies’ squad is known not only for its famous players but also for highly successful managers, coaches, and other members of the club. And since there are too many names to mention, we’ll only touch on the most notable members.
English football manager and former professional player Melanie Copeland joined Sunderland in 2017. She previously served as an assistant head coach of Newcastle United and was also an assistant to the first-team coach for Sunderland in 2015/17 before receiving her long-overdue promotion.
Melanie Copeland is mainly known for her success as a player, namely as a member of Sunderland. During the 2002/03 season, Copeland scored 17 goals and shared the F.A. Women’s Premier League Northern Division, Golden Boot. In the following season, Copeland claimed the Golden Boot for herself and had another phenomenal performance in the 2004/05 season, scoring 16 goals in 22 appearances.
Since taking over as head of coaching at Sunderland, Copeland has averaged a 46.15% win rate.
The Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies squad is filled with exceptional talent, on and off the pitch. When we talk about crucial members that helped Sunderland achieve success over the years, we can’t forget to mention some roles that don’t get as much recognition, including backroom staff and board members.
- Assistant coach: Steph Libbey
- General Manager: Alex Clark
- Goalkeeper coach: Chris Wilson
- Head of goalkeeping: Alessandro Barcherini
- Strength and Conditioning coach: Lee Fairley
- Physiotherapist: Cameron Lane
- U21 Lead Coach: Graeme Murty
- U18 Lead Coach: Paul Bryson
- Chairman: Kyril Louis-Dreyfus
- Chief Operating Officer: Steve Davison
- Non- Executive Director: Juan Sartori, Maurice Louis-Dreyfus, Simon Vumbaca, Patrick Treuer, Igor Levin, David Jones.
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Sunderland Women’s Football Club Honors and Awards
Despite the Sunderland Women’s Football Club’s recent slump, Sunderland A.F.C. is a highly successful club with plenty of honours and rewards to show, and here we’ll look at some of the most notable accomplishments.
- 2012/2013: F.A. Women’s Premier League National Division title
- 2014: Women’s F.A. Women’s Super League 2 title
- 2016: F.A. Women’s Cup semifinals
- 2017: F.A. Women’s Cup quarterfinals
- 2019/20: F.A. Women’s League Cup grand finals
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Using a bet of the day can be a great way to earn a small payout. For those unaware, a bet of the day is when an operator heavily features one fixture on their site’s front page. This fixture will likely come to fruition, meaning that if you bet on it, it would have a high possibility of earning you a profit. However, it should be noted that SAFC Women is rarely featured on many sportsbooks’ bet of the day as it is not as widely popular as many other UK football teams.
Sunderland women’s football club (or Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies) might not be one of the most successful English women’s football squads, but it has a rich and exciting history, which had its dark moments.
Notably, Sunderland A.F.C Ladies’ bid to join FA WSL in 2021 was controversially rejected in favour of Manchester City, which led to the departure of key players, severely damaging the club’s development and the future of the women’s game in the North East.
Despite that, Sunderland ended up winning the Premier League National Division, won the Women’s Premier League Cup in 2012, and earned a promotion to the FA WSL 1 in 2015. The worst has yet to come, though, as Sunderland got demoted to the F.A. Women’s National League North following an unsuccessful application for a license in F.A. Women’s Super League and F.A. Women’s Championship.
Although not a club for the faint-hearted, Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies is undeniably one o the most exciting clubs to follow as they pave their way back to the top of the women’s football ecosystem.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the manager of the Sunderland Women’s Football Club?
Melanie Copeland is the current manager of the Sunderland Women’s Football Club. As a former professional player, Melanie Copeland joined Sunderland as an assistant coach in 2015 and got promoted to the head coach position in 2017.
Who does Lucy Bronze play football for?
Lucy Bronze, who started her professional football career with Sunderland in 2007, is one of the most successful female players in the world. She has won 3 consecutive UEFA Champions League titles with Lyon and is currently playing for Barcelona.
Why is Jordan Nobbs not playing?
Jordan Nobbs has a long history of injuries that severely harm her professional career. In 2022, she was forced to take time away from the game to focus on mental health, which has kept her out of the game since.