While the WSL is currently on international break, two Everton Ladies stars made headlines during international duty on Tuesday.
Striker Elise Hughes (who scored against Liverpool on her first ever Everton debut) and Everton Ladies Player of the 2017/2018 Season, Angharad James both started for Wales in their friendly against Italy. While their side lost 2-0, they actually won in other important ways. Despite the scoreline, Wales manager Jayne Ludlow was impressed with the performance.
But it was also historic. For the first time ever, the women’s Wales team had their last names on the back of their shirts.
Blues midfielder, James, told BBC Sport Wales that it was “something so small but... we’ve been fighting for, for a very long time.”
”It just gives that little bit extra... hopefully we can push women’s football in the right direction and really push for young girls who might come to watch the next campaign, the next friendly, and they’ll be able to see you get your names on the back of your shirt just like the men now.”
”So to finally get to that point we’re all really happy.”
Teammate Jess Fishlock, who plays for the Seattle Reign in the NWSL, spoke out on Twitter about the historic event:
Also. To many this step for us is a step they prob don’t understand.— Jessica Fishlock MBE (@JessFishlock) January 22, 2019
But for us - a long 12 years of fighting & we finally have our names on our shirt.
From now on - that’s all players will remember.
What a Moment.
The fight is hard, it’s long but it’s worth it.
“To many this step for us is a step they prob[ably] don’t understand. But for us - a long 12 years of fighting & we finally have our names on our shirt. From now on - that’s all players will remember. What a Moment. The fight is hard, it’s long but it’s worth it.”
Fishlock created several chances during Tuesday’s loss, with some assistance from Hughes, but was denied by the Italian goalkeeper, Rosalia Pipitone, to keep a clean sheet.
While Fishlock is beloved in Seattle, women’s football is just now gaining steam in her home country. After drawing England 0-0 in April, people are starting to take notice. Wales is currently ranked 35th in the world and 20th in Europe.