Leeds United Women F.C.

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Leeds United Women FC
Full nameLeeds United Women
Nickname(s)The Phoenix[1]
GroundTadcaster Albion FC
ChairmanChris Bennett
LeagueFA Women's National League Division One North
2021–22FA Women's National League Division One North, 4th of 12
WebsiteClub website

Leeds United Women[2] are an English women's football club based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. They are currently members of the FA Women's National League Division One North.

Club information[edit]

The club play their home matches at Thorp Arch, the Leeds United F.C. training facility near Wetherby.

Leeds United Women have three senior teams: the first team competing in the WPL North Division 1 and U23s team in the women’s national reserve league, The U21S and U19s will play in the WRCWFL

The club's most notable player was Sue Smith, who has played for over 10 years at international level for England,[3] including at the 2007 Women's World Cup.

The team was originally the Leeds United Ladies team. The team announced they were changing their name to Leeds Carnegie Ladies F.C. in July 2008. This came to ensure all of the professional sports teams Leeds Met University were investing in carried the name of the university's sport department, Carnegie College (including Leeds Carnegie and Yorkshire Carnegie)[4] On 8 July 2010, it was announced by Leeds United F.C. that to stop Leeds Carnegie Ladies from going out of existence, the club would step in to provide funding again, bringing the club full circle back to Leeds United Ladies once more, a day under two years since the club was renamed Leeds Carnegie L.F.C.[5]

In 2014, after a change of ownership of Leeds United, the club was renamed Leeds Ladies Football Club.[6] The club was renamed back to Leeds United Ladies 3 years later after another change of ownership of Leeds United

At the start of the 2019–20 season the team name changed to Leeds United Women, following a trend of modernised naming in other teams .[2]


The club began in 1989. After playing in the Yorkshire and Humberside League for seven years, the 1997–98 season saw the team gain promotion to the AXA FA Northern Premier League under the management of Mark Hodgson. In 1999–2000 season they reached the semi-finals of the FA Women's Cup Narrowly losing 2–1 to Croydon in a very close game at Ossett Albion. After consolidating and adjusting to National League football for a couple of seasons, the team achieved promotion with a 5–0 win away at Wolverhampton Wanderers on 7 May 2001 and were crowned champions of the Northern Premier League and gained promotion to the Women's Premier League. Leeds finished a credible fourth in their first season in the top flight (2001–02), with manager Mark Hodgson winning The FA Women's Premier Leagues 'Manager of the Year' award. The following season proved to be a tough one and Leeds finished the league in seventh place.

The 2003–04 season saw a new manager, Julie Chipchase, appointed and Leeds once again finished in fourth place – the highest-placed team outside London. In the 2004–05 season the side finished in fifth place.

Split from Leeds United[edit]

The chairman of Leeds United A.F.C., Ken Bates, cut the ladies' club's funding by stopping financial backing in 2005, and withdrawing the Thorp Arch training facilities in 2006. The ladies' team managed to survive using sponsorship money. They were first sponsored in a two-year deal worth over £70,000 by EmpireDirect.co.uk,[7] before receiving sponsorship from Leeds Metropolitan University in a deal reported to be worth in excess of £250,000 over 5 years, starting in 2007.[8]

The 2005–06 season saw the team accomplish one of its greatest achievements to date, playing in the FA Women's Cup final against overwhelming favourites Arsenal Ladies.[9] Leeds United legend Allan Clarke presented them with sock tags before the match, similar to those worn by the Leeds United male team in their 1972 FA Cup Final victory, in a bid to give the team luck.[10] Nevertheless, the match did not turn out how the team had hoped, with Arsenal winning the game 5–0.[11]

Leeds's Rachel Stowell (right) in 2006 against Birmingham

The 2006–07 season was a fluctuating one, with Leeds topping the table over the Christmas period and the team getting through to the FA Women's Premier League Cup final for a second time.[12] The opposition was again Arsenal and Leeds put in a much better performance than in their previous cup final appearance, but they lost out to a last-minute strike by Arsenal's Jayne Ludlow. This seemed to have a big impact, as the team didn't perform as well in the closing stages of the season and they had dropped down to fifth by the end of the season. The club won the Marketing Club of the Year award at the FA Women's Awards in May 2007 for the third consecutive year.

A change in management was made in the close season and Rick Passmoor and Leanne Hall were appointed manager and assistant manager respectively in July 2007. The new management team made a number of new signings, including Steph Houghton, Carly Telford, Katie Holtham, Georgie Adams, Jade Moore and Carla Ward. By March 2008 the team were lying mid-table in the Premier League but finished in third position with 40 points, below Everton on 57 points and Arsenal on 62 points.

The 2007–2008 season saw the club reach their second FA Women's Cup final, their third cup final in as many years. Arsenal again were their opponents and the match mirrored the previous League Cup final. The game was 0–0 at halftime, although Arsenal produced most of the chances in the first half and constantly forced United goalkeeper Carly Telford into some amazing saves. Action at the opposite end of the pitch was non-existent, as United striker Amanda Barr struggled. In the second half Arsenal scored three goals in seven minutes: Smith 53, Ludlow 59 and Sanderson 60. Leeds fought back with a header from Jess Clarke on 69, but Arsenal sealed their season double with a final goal from Kelly Smith seven minutes from time. Carly Telford was named Player of the Match before a record crowd of 24,582 at the City Ground.[13][14]

In the 2008 close season the club's name became Leeds Carnegie Ladies. England U23 striker Carla Cantrell signed from Doncaster Rovers Belles and England U19's Ellen White, also a striker, joined from Chelsea. After a poor start and with key players injured for extended periods, Leeds finished sixth in the Premier League in season 2008–09.

In January 2010 the club's future was cast into doubt when their bid to join the FA Women's Super League collapsed.[15] The following month they won the club's first major trophy, the Premier League Cup, with a 3–1 win over Everton at Spotland Stadium on 11 February 2010.[16]

In March 2013 the club were confirmed as one of 33 clubs to apply for up to 18 places available in the expanded two tier 2014 FA WSL with the outcome expected in June 2014.[17] The club has started a "Show Some Love for Leeds United Ladies" campaign stating that the future of the club could depend on the success of their WSL application.[18]

Leeds United withdrew funding and permission to use their name and branding at the end of the 2013–14 season, causing Leeds United Ladies to cease to exist. In the immediate aftermath, a group of supporters rallied to create a new club, Leeds Ladies FC, to carry on the tradition of Ladies football in Leeds.[6]

New era (2017–)[edit]

Following a varied season on and off the field; a break away from the vision which was laid out at the beginning and broken promises, it was decided that an EGM would be called to decide upon the future of the existing structure. It was decided that there was no longer any confidence in the previous leadership and a new committee would now take control of Leeds Ladies FC.

After the EGM, the previous committee laid claim to the legal ownership of the club cancelling all training facilities and withheld club assets including playing kits and attempted to immediately dissolve the club. In order to ensure that the club kept going the new committee purchased a new kit, reinstated and paid for all training facilities and fulfilled all fixtures for both senior and both youth teams.

The FA requested that the previous committee prove legal ownership which they have been unable to do.

The club announced the appointment of a new structure behind the club, appointing Lee Townend as chairman of Leeds Ladies Football Club, with the full advisory support from the main sponsor Andrew Pinder. Lee previously worked with the club as director of football and head of youth development so he brings an extensive knowledge of the club to the new structure. Lee will be joined in the day to day matters by Kirsty Emmot who has been appointed as club treasurer and Jo Czibor as club secretary. Lewis Atkinson will become director of football and will maintain his position as first team manager supported by his coaching team. The remaining roles have been filled by the leadership team ensuring the club structure is in safe hands with a 6-person-strong executive committee.

The club's main priority is to instil transparency across all areas. From financial to the club's ambitions, Leeds Ladies FC wants to be very open and honest in its approach and in its leadership. The current leadership team have a very positive attitude towards the future of Leeds Ladies FC and is looking forward to helping the club realise its potential.

Leeds Ladies returns to Leeds United Ladies[edit]

On 26 June 2017, new Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani brought back Leeds Ladies to Leeds United ownership to become Leeds United Ladies again after the club had previously become its own entity after previous owner Massimo Cellino decided to stop Leeds United funding in 2014.[2]


Current squad[edit]

As of 10 October 2021.[19]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   Kirsty Johnson
2 DF England ENG Rebecca Jeffels
3 DF Romania ROU Josephine Hewson
4 DF England ENG Bridie Hannon
5 DF England ENG Catherine Hamill (Captain)
6 DF England ENG Jodie Hunter
7 FW   Holly Findlay
8 MF   Alice Hughes
9 FW England ENG Abbie Brown
10 FW   Lauren Breen
11 MF England ENG Rebecca Hunt
12 DF England ENG Olivia Smart
13 GK   Skye Kirkham
14 MF   Kirstie Hunt
15 MF   Beth Clayton
No. Pos. Nation Player
16 FW   Laura Bartup
17 FW Bermuda BER Aaliyah Nolan
18 FW   Molly Havard
19 MF England ENG Milly Ash
20 MF   Anisha Hill
DF England ENG Rebekah Bass[20]
MF   Sarah Danby[21]
DF   Holly Housley[22]
GK England ENG Lauren Joyce[23]
DF England ENG Holly Orr[24]
MF   Kathryn Smith[25]
FW Portugal POR Sandra Soares-Martins[26]
DF England ENG Dani Trickett[27]
MF Wales WAL Kanisha-Mae Underdown[28]
MF Wales WAL Paige Williams[29]

Coaching and backroom staff[edit]

The 2022/2023 backroom staff consists of:

1st Team

  • Manager Rick Passmoor
  • Assistant Manager/ First Team Coach

Benjamin Peters

  • First Team Coach
  • Sarah Dobby (Player / Coach)

  • First Team Physio
  • Ailish Clear

  • U23s

  • Manager Angus Hall
  • Coach Chris Plater

  • u21s
  • Manager Craige Richardson is an FA level 2 qualified coach
  • Coach James Appleyard

Strength and Conditioning coach

  • Chris Plater


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b c "Leeds United Ladies Are Back". Leeds United Football Club. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Sue says it's overdue". The F.A. TheFA.com. 21 September 2006. Retrieved 23 September 2006.
  4. ^ "Leeds women change name of club". BBC. BBC.co.uk. 9 July 2008. Retrieved 9 July 2008.
  5. ^ "Leeds United Ladies are back!". LeedsUnited.com. LeedsUnited.com. 8 July 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Leeds United Ladies forced to rebrand". Yorkshire Voice. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  7. ^ "Leeds Ladies land lucrative sponsorship deal". The F.A. TheFA.com. 22 July 2005. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2006.
  8. ^ "Leeds Utd women eye bright future". Tony Leighton. BBC Sport. 4 August 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2007.
  9. ^ "Sport – Leeds United in F.A. Cup Final". BBC – Leeds. BBC. 25 April 2006. Retrieved 23 September 2006.
  10. ^ "Leeds Ladies Look For Lucky Omen". The F.A. TheFA.com. 12 April 2006. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2006.
  11. ^ "Arsenal Ladies 5–0 Leeds Ladies". BBC Sport. BBC. 1 May 2006. Retrieved 23 September 2006.
  12. ^ "Ludlow levels Leeds". The F.A. The F.A. 4 March 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  13. ^ "Arsenal on fire at Forest". 25 June 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  14. ^ "Arsenal face Leeds in Cup final". BBC Sport. BBC. 16 March 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  15. ^ "Leeds Carnegie could fold after ending Super League Interest". Tony Leighton. The Guardian. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
  16. ^ Tony Leighton (11 February 2010). "Leeds beat Everton to lift the Women's League Cup". BBC. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
  17. ^ thefa.com (6 March 2013). "Clubs bid for WSL spot". The F.A. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  18. ^ "Leeds United ladies push for premier league status". Yorkshire Evening Post. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  19. ^ "Leeds United - Women". Leeds United F.C. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  20. ^ "Rebekah Bass: We should be aiming to be at the top". Leeds United F.C. 10 June 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  21. ^ "Leeds United Women welcome Sarah Danby to the team". Leeds United F.C. 9 July 2021. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  22. ^ "Holly Housley Signs for Leeds United Women". Leeds United F.C. 10 October 2021. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  23. ^ "Lauren Joyce: To be able to pull on the shirt is amazing". Leeds United F.C. 3 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Holly Orr: I want to keep developing my game". Leeds United F.C. 17 July 2021. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  25. ^ "Leeds United Women welcome Kathryn Smith to the team". Leeds United F.C. 19 July 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  26. ^ "Leeds United Women Welcome Sandra Soares-Martins to the team". Leeds United F.C. 11 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  27. ^ "Dani Trickett: I am really looking forward to this season beginning". Leeds United F.C. 1 July 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  28. ^ "Kanisha-Mae Underdown: I can't wait to get going". Leeds United F.C. 14 July 2021. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  29. ^ "Leeds United Women welcome Paige Williams to the team". Leeds United F.C. 15 June 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.

External links[edit]