Sunderland A.F.C. Women

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Sunderland Women
Sunderland womens.jpg
Full name Sunderland A.F.C. Women Football Club
Nickname(s) The Black Cats
Ground The Hetton Centre, Hetton-le-Hole
Manager Claire Robinson
League FA WSL 2
2012–13 1st, FA Women's Premier League National Division
Website Club home page

Sunderland AFC Women (Sunderland W.F.C., Sunderland Ladies) is a women's football club based in Sunderland, North East England. They play their home games at The Hetton Centre in Hetton-le-Hole, Tyne and Wear.


The club began in 1989 as a five-a-side team called The Kestrels and won the Yorkshire and Humberside League in 1990. Over the next decade they competed in the Northern Premier as Cowgate Kestrels, RTM Newcastle Kestrels and Blyth Spartans Kestrels. In 2000 the club merged with Sunderland Ladies to become Sunderland Women's FC and won promotion to the FA Women's Premier League National Division.

The new club was originally financed as part of the established professional Sunderland A.F.C. men's club, but following financial troubles in 2004, the women's side was forced to become financially independent. Sunderland A.F.C. provide the kit and the home ground.

On Sunday 10 April 2005 they won promotion from the Northern Division as champions. In the 2005–06 season, they finished 9th in the league (then the penultimate position), but stayed up after tying a promotion/relegation playoff against Southern runner-ups Bristol City W.F.C. 5–5 on aggregate.

On 6 May 2007, with all their games finished and only having 11 points, Sunderland were relegated after Cardiff City beat Doncaster Rovers 3–2.

In Season 2007–08 Sunderland finished in 3rd position in The Women's Premier League, Northern Division, behind Champions Nottingham Forest and Lincoln City. The top 3 were almost in a league of their own as Sunderland finished 17 points ahead of 4th placed Newcastle – who only finished 15 points ahead of bottom-of-the-table

With team re-building completed, the 2008–09 season began with high hopes for the Wearsiders who had six England youth internationals in their ranks and had recently recruited full England international midfielder Kelly McDougall from Everton Ladies.

On 22 March 2009, Sunderland WFC reached the final of the FA Women's Cup after beating Chelsea 3–0. Goals from Williams (2) and Gutteridge ensured their place in the final against holders Arsenal at Pride Park Stadium, home of Derby County on 4 May.

In the final, favourites Arsenal beat Sunderland 2–1. Despite dominating possession and creating several chances, Arsenal found it difficult to convert their opportunities, partly due to dogged Sunderland defending and the brilliant goalkeeping of Helen Alderson. Arsenal's Katie Chapman scored in the first half, their second coming in extended 2nd half injury-time from Kim Little. However, Sunderland never gave up and scored a consolation goal from Kelly McDougall just before the final whistle. Lucy Bronze gave a superb display at right-back, earning herself the Player of the Match Award for the Black Cats.

Sunderland won promotion to the National Premier Division after defeating Preston 4–0 away in the last match of the 2008–09 season.

Back in the top flight, Sunderland exceeded expectations and topped the league for five months. They also handed Arsenal Ladies only their second league defeat in six years. However, the club's bid to join the FA WSL was rejected on commercial and marketing grounds – leading to the departure of star players Lucy Bronze, Jordan Nobbs, Lucy Staniforth and Helen Alderson.

Despite the exodus of these players, Sunderland secured the FA Women's National Premier League title with two games to spare, following their victory over Millwall on 3 April 2011.[1]

In the 2014 season they entered the newly created FA WSL 2. They won their first six games of the season.

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Rachael Laws
England GK Katie McTague
England DF Jane Riddell
England DF Lynsey Fletcher
England DF Becky Salicki
England DF Sophie Halliday
England DF Nicola Devine
England DF Helen Gibson
England DF Lyndsey Bell
England DF Lizzy Fraser
6 England DF Gemma Wilson
2 England DF Abby Holmes
3 England DF Vicki Greenwell
5 England DF Stephanie Bannon (captain)
No. Position Player
8 England MF Kelly McDougall
England MF Sarah Unwin
England MF Jess Clark
14 Northern Ireland MF Rachel Furness
England MF Coral Colledge
England MF Autumn Colledge
England MF Ellie Christon
England MF Jessica Round
10 England FW Lucy Tate
Northern Ireland FW Sarah McFadden
7 England FW Keira Ramshaw
England FW Sophie Williams
England FW Natalie Gutteridge

Former players[edit]

For details of former players, see Category:Sunderland W.F.C. players.



External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°49′17.990″N 1°27′19.800″W / 54.82166389°N 1.45550000°W / 54.82166389; -1.45550000