Maidstone United Ladies start their South East Counties Division One East campaign this afternoon.
Last season’s treble winners welcome Glebe to the Gallagher Stadium and the club’s head of ladies football John Jackson is expecting a tough campaign.
He said: “It’s going to be a challenging season but we will be working really hard to build on what we achieved last time and it looks promising with the young players we’ve got coming through, alongside the experienced members of the squad.
“Getting the local community involved is very important to us. We’re not going to be charging an admission fee to start off with as we want people to be able to come along, see the standard and support their local club. Hopefully we can switch people on to the female game and the quality there is in that now.”
The ladies return to the home of the Stones this season after a year playing out of Cobdown. Promotion to Division One East pits them against the likes of Dartford, Faversham and Margate.
Lauren Lynds is one the squad’s new additions. A younger member of the team, she’s seen a dramatic change in attitudes towards women’s football.
She said: “I started playing football at seven. My brother and grandad both played and they taught me. At the time people would look at us because there was a girl playing for a boys team.
“When I was younger there was hardly any girls football on TV and now football and rugby have been on the main channels in recent weeks. It’s great that it’s getting shown more.”
Another summer signing Hannah Stiles added: “I was Year 6 when I started playing football. There had to be two girls in the primary school league and it just went on from there.
“It will be weird playing here [Gallagher Stadium] on Sunday, it’s not what we’re used to. We’re normally playing in a field at the back of someone’s house so this will be really special.”
The match kicks off at 15:15 – all are welcome.