Demi Stokes out to keep raising profile of women’s football in Super League

Demi Stokes wants to keep women’s football “on the map” after the game’s surge of popularity during this summer’s World Cup.

More people tuned in for England’s semi-final defeat to the United States than the finals of the men’s Cricket World Cup and Wimbledon.

The England and Manchester City defender believes it is partly down to the players and the clubs in the Women’s Super League to keep the demand for women’s football high.

Demi Stokes
Demi Stokes in action in the WSL Continental Cup final (Nigel French/PA)

The 27-year-old told the PA news agency: “You want the match standards high because you want people to come back and you want people to watch, and we do play good football.

“I think it’s so important that we do keep putting the demand on ourselves as clubs and as individuals because you just want to keep the game elevating.

“I think for the league it’s important that everyone is really pushing themselves to be better and to become good teams and put on a performance because that’s what brings people back.

“There’s the live streams as well and that’ll help get more people watching.”

Demi Stokes
Demi Stokes is relishing the new season and increased exposure (John Walton/PA)

Over 150 domestic fixtures will be streamed free of charge this season on the Football Association website and the FA Player app.

On the World Cup exit, Stokes added: “We were obviously disappointed with that but I think it’s in the past now.

“People said you’ve got to look a lot bigger than just winning and losing. (I’m) obviously buzzing to get women’s football on the map and a lot more people interested.”

Arsenal beat Manchester City to the league title last year by seven points but the Blues secured both the FA Women’s Cup and the WSL Continental Cup.

Manchester City Women joined the men's team for their end-of-season trophy parade
Manchester City Women joined the men’s team for their end-of-season trophy parade (Nick Potts/PA)

The cup holders will kick off their WSL season with a Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on September 7.

Stokes said City would be pushing for all three domestic trophies this year, as well as the Champions League after they lost to Atletico Madrid in the last 32 last season.

She said: “We know we have to do better and we know if we take our foot off the gas it’s us who will beat ourselves, not other teams.

“We know that the demands are very high and no game is going to be easy but the league is getting better, we’re getting players from all over the world, players are improving, people are full-time, so you can’t expect it to be easy.”

This season will be Manchester United’s first in the Super League after they were promoted from the second tier last season, winning 18 of their 20 matches.

On starting the season against United, Stokes said: “Obviously they’re a new team and we know some of the players but in terms of the team and how they’re going to play and set up, we’re not sure what they’re going to do so it’s exciting.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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