Bowman: WSL has changed the landscape of women's football

Midfielder looks back on her time in the WSL as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

By Charlie Hanson • 16 April 2021

By Kyle Hemsley
Dani Bowman has been ruled out for the season with a foot injury.

Women's football has never been in a better position thanks to the Barclays FA Women's Super League (WSL), according to Albion midfielder Dani Bowman.

Tuesday marked ten years since the WSL first kicked off, and women's football has grown in popularity over the following decade.

Bowman's first memory of the competition was Chelsea's match against Arsenal in 2011, the first game in the WSL.

“I remember arriving on the coach, there were fans everywhere and it was surreal. During my  playing career I had never seen something like that and we were all turning to each other and asking ‘are they all here for our game?’ We couldn't get our heads around it.

“It was the first WSL game to be broadcast live, so there were TV trucks. A lot has happened since then, it's amazing how the WSL has grown in such a short space of time.

“The fact that young girls can go out and see players they want to emulate is fantastic for the sport. The quality of talent coming through the grassroots programmes shows how well Brighton and the FA are at nurturing these players.”

Bowman, who is recovering from a recent foot operation, has enjoyed a superb career in the top tier of women's football, but the 32-year-old's favourite moment was a game she didn’t play in.

“Beating Chelsea this year was fantastic and something that nobody believed we could do. That was the proudest moment in my career. I wasn’t even playing, but talking to the girls and encouraging throughout the game, there was a real feeling of the group being so together that day.


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WSL Extended Highlights: Chelsea 1 Albion 2

“It was a huge moment for us as a club to get three points and shock everyone in the WSL. That is definitely one of the highlights of my career.

“I think we are unique in the way we support each other, whether or not you’re playing and every single one of us looks out for each other. That’s a credit to Brighton to how they have brought this squad together. We all want what’s best for the club.”

That game sparked a turnaround in form for Albion, who have enjoyed five wins in their last six meetings.

“During my time at the club we haven’t had a run as good as that and it’s incredible what the Chelsea result did for confidence.

“It’s been spoken about how low a moment the Bristol City defeat in the game prior to the win over Chelsea was so to come out the other side and produce the results we have says a lot about us as a squad.

By Gruffydd Thomas
Albion suffered a 3-0 defeat to Bristol City, before going on their record breaking winning run in the WSL.

“We proved that the confidence was back in the way that we performed after that match. Sometimes we would fear certain teams too much, but we have focused on what we can do.”

“We have made ourselves more accountable for our own actions. It started on the training ground and in meetings. After that Bristol City defeat we were at our crossroads but we had a frank conversation and said ‘we have to turn this around, it comes from us’.

“We had to rediscover our non-negotiables. We don’t blame anybody, we don’t make excuses. We had fallen away from our work ethic and the team ethos. The togetherness had started to drift but now you can see in those tough moments in matches we’re all sticking together.”