By 90Min
November 06, 2019

Chelsea and England defender Millie Bright knows to take nothing for granted in the women’s game, but the two-time WSL champion is excited to see things like boot deals, sponsorships and games at bigger venues in front of larger crowds become increasingly normalised.

Bright has been playing at the highest level for Chelsea since 2015 and has been an England regular since her debut in 2016, going to two major semi-finals with the Lionesses.

Soccrates Images/GettyImages

The WSL became Europe’s first and only fully professional top flight women’s league in 2018 and the game in England has been progressing at an impressive rate. A big part of that is normalising the kind of things that men’s football has taken for granted for years.

“Most female players know nothing is taken for granted; I certainly never take it for granted,” Bright explained to 90min’s Ben Haines.

“It’s exciting because I never thought I’d be in this position, where I’m sponsored by adidas and getting all these amazing opportunities and deals. It’s still exciting to get a new pack – adidas have always excited me anyway and you can’t wait to get [new boots] on and play in them.”

For Bright, something as simple as a boot deal is proof the women’s game is growing.

“One, you deserve it. Two, that’s the way the women’s game is going now,” she said.

“[A boot deal] should be your aim and as female player these are the sort of thing we want to keep growing. I think it’s getting a lot bigger now, not even just with boots, but in other things and you’re getting more opportunities and it’s proving that the game is growing.”

After the success of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, this season has also seen a huge spike in attendances at WSL games, with a number of clubs playing one-off fixtures in bigger stadiums to bring the game to more and more people.

Bright took part in one of those game when Chelsea hosted Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend of the season, with close to 25,000 fans through the doors.

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The experience of that day was ‘amazing’, the 26-year-old says. But, perhaps more importantly, the atmosphere was also there alongside the larger crowd.

“I think [atmosphere] is always the worry and we’re still on a journey to get the crowds up, but it 

wasn’t flat,” Bright explained. “I could hear the fans throughout the whole game, and even though it wasn’t packed, those 25,000 fans made it feel like it was a sell-out.

“The atmosphere was not an issue at all and we want to keep continuing to grow the crowds, not only sell tickets but making sure that people turn up to games – that’s the next step for us now. The value of the game will keep growing and growing.”

England will soon play in front of what promises to be a record crowd for a women’s game in this country after the upcoming friendly against Germany at the 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium has been confirmed by the FA as a sell-out.

“It’s a massive occasion and I think everyone knows that every game for England is a massive honour,” Bright said, anticipating an important game against a strong German side.

“You’ve got to step up now, the competition is high and there are high demands on every player. As a squad, we’ve got to keep pushing our individual levels and that is only going to put us in a better place as a team.”

Millie Bright wears the adidas Nemeziz 19+, available at www.adidas.co.uk/football-shoes.


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