Not many football teams can say they played at Old Trafford less than three years after forming.

But that’s exactly what Manchester United Women will do, playing their first ever match at the legendary stadium on Saturday 27th March, as they take advantage of the international break in the men’s game.

The team, who sit third in the Women’s Super League (WSL), will face relegation contenders West Ham United as they attempt to close the gap on league leaders Chelsea FC Women. Playing at one of the most historic venues in world football marks a momentous occasion for both the club and women’s football alike.

Alan Tonge, UCFB academic and former professional at Manchester United, said: “Walking out at Old Trafford with the badge on your chest and representing United is an absolute dream come true. I was lucky enough to do it as 16-year-old; to run out into the stadium and follow in the footsteps of legends who have graced the turf is some thrill.”

Alan added: “This game is absolutely amazing for the women’s team and women’s football in general and will hopefully be the first of many. They will become history makers and it will be a landmark day for the club.”

The clash with West Ham offers a further opportunity to showcase the game, as well as United’s high profile signings this season which include Tobin Heath and Christen Press. Having only re-launched as a team in 2018, Manchester United Women are enjoying an impressive march of momentum after being promoted to the top flight last season and competing for an all-important Champions League spot this campaign.

But playing at Old Trafford is about more than simply broadcasting the club’s current form. It sets a precedent for young girls at United and beyond and will have a lasting impact, according to Izzy Keighley, Girls Development Coach at Manchester United Foundation. Playing at this iconic venue sends a message to aspiring females that they too can compete on the ultimate stage.

The BA (Hons) International Football Business student at UCFB said: “It sets a fantastic standard for all the young female players in the Regional Talent Club and development centre, showing them first hand that equal opportunities are really becoming possible. I’m so proud to play my part!”

United are following an ongoing trend of Premier League sides welcoming their women’s sides into their stadiums when a gap in their schedule allows it. Tottenham Hotspur Women will host Arsenal at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the second time this weekend, after reaching a record-breaking crowd of 38,262 fans in the fixture last year.

Fellow WSL sides Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have all played at the grounds of their male counterparts, demonstrating the commitment in both the Premier League and WSL to continue to promote and elevate the women’s game.

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