Manchester United midfielder Jackie Groenen says her team playing at Old Trafford for the first time is a good sign for women’s football and shows it is being taken seriously.
Though they usually play at Leigh Sports Village, a 12,000-capacity ground, Manchester United Women will be playing at the iconic 74,000-seater for the first time on Saturday when they host West Ham in the Women’s Super League.
With the international break in the men’s game, the women’s team will step out at the famous stadium, albeit without the support of home fans.
Manager Casey Stoney called it a “big step” for the club, while Netherlands international midfielder Groenen says it will be ‘very special’ to play at the iconic stadium for the first time.
Speaking to the Women’s Football Show, Groenen said: “It’s such a good step for us as well to show that the club take us really seriously.
“Also for women’s football, I think it’s good if more and more of these games are being played in a men’s stadium.
“It’s just a good sign from the club as well, that we get to play [at Old Trafford], that’s really amazing.
“I’ve been a Man Utd fan since I was a little kid so for me personally, it’s like a dream come true.”
Another hugely positive sign for women’s football was the announcement earlier this week that Sky Sports will become the primary broadcaster of the Barclays Women’s Super League from September 2021.
That move means more exposure for women’s football than ever before, and Groenen is excited about the impact it will have.
She said: “I think that’s going to be amazing. It’s such a big, massive step forward.
“We are so much more in reach now for everyone. It will just be easier for everyone to watch us and that can only work in a positive way.
“I’ve seen it with big tournaments and in Holland, that as soon as you get more visible, it will attract more people to the games as well.
“It will just have a knock-on effect that will be so massive.
“It’s very exciting, a very good sign. It’s good to see that we are still keeping up and it’s still evolving and getting better.
“We are really enthusiastic. Everyone was talking about it today at training so everyone is really excited about it!”
Sky Sports has announced a three-year deal with the FA to become the primary broadcaster of the Barclays Women’s Super League from September 2021.
As one of the most competitive leagues, with some of the most famous names and teams in the world, the WSL will be one of Sky Sports’ flagship offerings.
The deal will see Sky Sports show at least 35 games exclusively live per season and further strengthens the broadcaster’s commitment to women’s sport.