Reading FC Women Club History
In May 2006, Reading Football Club delightedly announced the launch of its first ever women’s football team, which came after three years of planning and development with our girls centre of excellence. The launch of the Reading FC Women’s team came after carefully analysis of women’s football in the area and this initiative was in partnership with Reading Girls FC.
The Centre of Excellence had already generated a number of international youth players and more were coming through the ranks, but the club had no senior outlet for any of the players until Reading FC Women was formed. With a target to play premier league women’s football, the squad, which included a reserve team, entered mid-tier of the leagues structure.
The first season (2006/2007) Reading FC Women saw the team win the Southern Region Premier Division. Season 2007/2008 saw Reading FC Women become South West England Champions winning the South West Combination League in style following an unbeaten campaign, and gaining promotion to the premier levels of women’s football. The reserve team followed similar progress and promotion through its respective league routes, signalling the depth of the overall squad that was being developed.
Season 2008/2009 saw both the reserve and first team playing in the respective premier football leagues for the first time. The first team were voted into the FA Premier League Northern Division at the AGM and finished a creditable 6th. For 2009 – 2010 the team played in the FA Premier League Southern Division. The team gained promotion to FA Women's Premier League National Division coming runners up in the Southern division.
So in 2010/2011, the first team played their first season in the FA Women’s Premier League National Division, playing against top sides and managed to finish a creditable 3rd in the league. Unfortunately the first team got relegated in 2011/12 on goal difference and now played in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division for 2012/13. Season 2012/13 was a very successful season seeing the team become champions of the FA Premier League Southern division when they beat Millwall Lionesses at The Den. The club also gained entry in the FA Women’s Super League 2 ahead of 2014.
Our inaugural season in the FA WSL, under the guidance of Jayne Ludlow & Assistant Kelly Chambers, Reading achieved an excellent 3rd place finish in the League behind promoted Sunderland and runners-up Doncaster Belles. At the end of the 2014 season Ludlow departed Reading FC Women for new pastures as Manager for Wales Women National Team. Reading FC Women's player Fran Kirby achieved WSL 2 Player of the Season, along with WSL 2 Top Scorer.
The success of 2014 saw Reading FC Women tipped for promotion in 2015, it also saw long time Royal Fran Kirby receive a full-time contract and Senior International honours including the FIFA Women's World Cup Finals. That was to be the end of the road with Reading for Kirby as she headed to pastures new with FA WSL 1 club Chelsea for a British Record Transfer fee. Despite doubters with the departure, Reading FC Women proved them wrong with a run in that saw them score the most goals in FA WSL 2, secure promotion with 2 games remaining and win the FA WSL 2 title on the final day of the season.
2017/2018 Season Reading Women drew both their home and away fixtures with precious champions Chelsea, and finished the league winning a total of 9 games. Going into the season knowing it was going to be a challenge, their results proved that the Royals had the desire and talent to compete with the best teams in the country. Reading ended the season with an entertaining 1-1 draw against Birmingham City. The draw meant Reading Women had achieved their highest-ever WSL 1 finish, by ending the season in fourth place.