Lucy Bronze, England players relish Euros turnout and investment

Lucy Bronze of England controls the ball during England’s Group A match against Austria at Old Trafford. (Thor Wegner/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

The 2022 UEFA Women’s Euro is currently underway in England, providing the country an opportunity to put the women’s game on center stage.

Thanks to the burgeoning popularity of the country’s domestic league, the Women’s Super League, the sport is experiencing a surge in status and enjoying increased investment. The WSL’s expansion was highlighted when the league, Sky Sports and the BBC announced a landmark three-year agreement beginning with the 2021-2022 season.

Lucy Bronze, a veteran English defender, has seen firsthand how far the women’s game has come. Speaking with The New York Times, Bronze recalled working a side job at Domino’s Pizza while balancing her role as a star on Everton.

Now, players are relishing bigger deals and a growing fan base.

“Here we are, in 2022, and players get like helicopters to do appearances,” Bronze told the New York Times. “Do you know what I mean? It’s gone so far, so quickly, and I don’t think anyone could have forecast how huge it was going to be.”

England’s Euro matches will air on the BCC, with record crowds expected throughout the tournament.

The sport, however, is working against substantial obstacles, with a slice of the English public harboring troubling feelings about women’s sports. The New York Times cites a Durham University study from early 2022 that shows two-thirds of 2,000 male soccer fans polled hold “openly misogynistic attitudes toward women’s sports” across age groups.

The Euro tournament has also come under fire for hosting some matches at the Manchester City Academy Stadium, a venue that has a capacity of just 4,700.

Players, though, hope that a home tournament featuring some of the best soccer stars in the world will help the game’s growing popularity.

“We’ve seen, over the years, how much the women’s game has grown,” England’s Lauren Hemp said. “I think having this home tournament is only going to help it grow even more.”

England will continue on its Euro quest when it faces Norway at 3 p.m. ET Monday at Falmer Stadium, a venue with a capacity of 31,800.