Women’s football’s new goal

Steph Houghton hits the first goal of the Women's Football at London 2012.
Steph Houghton hits the first goal of the Women's Football at London 2012.
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OLYMPIC star Steph Houghton has been back at Wembley.

The South Hetton 24-year-old was there to take part in the Football Association’s launch of plans it hopes will help women’s football overtake cricket as the second-most played sport in the country.

Arsenal Ladies defender Steph has happy memories of the home of English football, having scored Team GB’s winner there against Brazil during London 2012.

She tweeted: “Gr8 to be at the launch of the @FA ‘Game Changer’ strategy at Wembley! New 5 year plan in place! #exiting.”

Women’s football was one of the success stories of the Olympics, with the FA now looking to increase the sport’s popularity.

Its plans will see the Women’s Super League expanded to two leagues from the summer of 2014, a move which could benefit Sunderland Women’s FC, currently in the FA Women’s Premier League.

Manager Mick Mulhern said: “Without a doubt it would good to be involved in the Super League.

“We will have to look at the criteria and speak to the FA about it.

“Team GB’s success has, through national and local stars, highlighted the sport in the area.”

The FA hopes to get 253,600 women playing football each month by 2018, secure more broadcast coverage of the women’s game, and increase revenue from sponsorship.

“It sounds like a very exciting time to be involved in the sport,” added Mick. “For young players coming through, to know they could be playing on television, it can only inspire them.”