As the UK celebrates Women’s Sports Week, five MCWFC stars are in Canada preparing to kick off England’s World Cup campaign.
Captain Steph Houghton has been joined by City teammates Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Jill Scott and Toni Duggan in the Three Lionesses’ quest for silverware.
It is just the latest highlight in Manchester City Women’s journey, which began in January 2014, when the club was relaunched at a special event at the Etihad Stadium ahead of the inaugural season in the FA Women’s Super League.
Featuring speeches on the club’s history, present status and plans for the future, the event also saw the club reveal its dedication to improving women’s football in the local community, with a plan to hold a series of coaching programmes for girls in the area delivered by CITC.
City’s commitment to women’s football was emphasised by a series of high-profile captures, including Houghton, Scott and Bardsley to complement the team’s existing structure and usher in a bright new era for the sport in Manchester.
Backed by a vocal set of fans and supported by the entire City organisation, Nick Cushing led his new side to a fifth place finish in their first ever campaign in the women’s top flight, with a memorable win against title-chasing Chelsea on the final day a testimony to just how far the group had come in their first 12 months together.
However, the real highlight of the first year came against the backdrop of Wycombe’s Adams Park, as City defied the odds to triumph over favourites Arsenal to lift the Continental Cup and claim a first ever piece of silverware.
CityTV were there every step of the way…
However, City’s ambition showed no signs of diminishing. The preparations for 2015 continued apace and more quality signings arrived at the start of the year to bolster a squad hungry for more trophies.
Jennifer Beattie, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Sarah Wiltshire and Natasha Harding all made permanent moves to Manchester, while Georgia Brougham and Alex Brooks penned their first senior contracts and young talent Nikita Parris joined on loan from Everton.
While high profile names were keen to come and take their part in City's ambitious plans for the future, possibly the biggest endorsement came from the skipper herself - Steph Houghton put pen to paper on a new deal committing her future to the club until 2017.
With the club keen to give the team the best possible advantages, MCWFC had their pre-season preparations out in Abu Dhabi in January, joined by the men’s team for their mid-season tour and by Melbourne City as the whole organisation reaffirmed their commitment to each team’s success.
The attractive, passing style Cushing has instilled in his players has made for a wonderfully entertaining series of games at the side’s new home, the 7,000 capacity Academy Stadium, and the bid to retain the Continental Cup starts after the summer break to accommodate the World Cup.
It’s an exciting time for women’s sport at City and in the Manchester community, and this is only the beginning…