Charlton Athletic full-back Ella Powell is hopeful that the Women’s Championship becomes fully professional and has been impressed by the league’s progress in such a short space of time.
Ella Powell Wants the Women’s Championship to Follow WSL
Ella Powell Praises the Influx of Investment in the Women’s Championship
The Wales international says that the influx of more investment and talent into the division means that the women’s second tier is on the right path to achieving full professional status.
In a virtual press conference organised by Next Gen Sport Solutions, she said: “It’s progressed so much in just the space of a year. You can see players of a higher calibre coming into the Championship now, with clubs getting more funding.
“I’ve been surprised with how much the clubs have developed, and if we continue the way we’re going, it’s only a matter of time before all the teams in the Championship have to match those levels raised by the top clubs in this division.
“They have set the tone and I feel very optimistic about the development and progression of the Championship in the next few years.
“Now is the time to close that gap between the Championship and the Women’s Super League. There have been times where there’s been a worry that the gap has been growing when you see some of the players coming into the Women’s Super League. The bar has definitely been raised and it’s up to every club to match that level.”
Backing of a Men’s Club Should Be Encouraged
All 12 of the current Women’s Super League clubs are affiliated with a men’s team, meanwhile, Durham is the only independent women’s club in their own right within the top two divisions.
Powell believes having the backing from the men’s game isn’t essential to be successful, but feels it is something to be encouraged for the overall health of the sport.
“It’s an important aspect and some of the successful women’s clubs have fairly good representation on the men’s side.
“But it isn’t always necessary to have the backing of a men’s club behind you, and if you’re able to create a women’s entity on its own and make it successful, then that’s amazing.
“However, I would say that if there’s an opportunity for a men’s club to support a women’s team, then why wouldn’t you? If you want to expand your fan base across both genders, then that can only be a good thing – I hope we see more of that going forward.”
Women’s Championship is Currently Semi-Professional
The Women’s Championship is currently a semi-professional league, meaning Powell has a day job on the side and runs a fitness-based business called Jodie Brett Performance in partnership with Brighton & Hove Albion footballer Jodie Brett.
Keeping the Mind Sharp
Powell explained how this has aided her development both on and off the pitch, especially in her recovery from a serious ankle ligament injury.
“I’m still working full-time and playing with Charlton, so it’s definitely a bit of a juggle, but any women’s footballer at this level is going to balance a number of different things in their lives.
“When I’m helping people to improve their fitness, it makes me think about how I can be more receptive as a player with the coaches when I’m training or playing matches.
“It gives me a focus as well. You train in the evenings when you’re playing semi-professionally, so doing this as well keeps my mind sharp. It can be challenging, but everything I do is to push myself in all areas of my life.
“It’s also a good opportunity for me because we built a gym in the garage, so that facility has been amazing in terms of my rehab and all the extra training I do.
“I’m always using these opportunities to better myself as a player.”