Rotherham United Women Football Club marked their debut performance at the New York Stadium with a cup success which sealed a “celebration of women’s football”.

A jubilant crowd of 1,124 attended the AESSEAL New York Stadium to watch the Millers beat Mansfield Town Ladies 4-3 on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes.

Pete Jarvis, first team manager, was overjoyed at winning the #HerGameToo Shield 2023.

He said: “It was a fantastic occasion. Thanks so much to the fans for coming out, they were absolutely brilliant tonight.”

The game was part of the #HerGameToo campaign, which focuses on raising awareness of sexism in sport.

Hannah Crossley, a Rotherham United #HerGameToo ambassador, explained the importance of the occasion.

Hannah said: “It was a celebration of women’s football and women’s sport in general and how far the women’s game has come.

“We hope this will become a signal event and the start of even more great things to come here at Rotherham United and #HerGameToo.”

Lori-Anne Tart, the captain and figurehead of the Rotherham side, said the campaign will open up new opportunities for girls getting into football.

“#HerGameToo is such a massive campaign and it’s so nice to see that young girls can come and see things like this.

Lori-Anne said: “I started off at such a young age and there was nothing for girls, there were no opportunities whatsoever outside of a boys’ team.

“Hopefully we can get some more games here next season.”

Captain of Rotherham United Women FC, Lori-Anne Tart

The team play in the East Midlands Womens Regional Football League Premier Division, which is a tier six division. They finished sixth out of the nine teams, winning five games.

Jarvis joined the club last February and has witnessed the team’s growth first-hand. The team usually plays at Roundwood Sports Complex.

He said: “When I came into the team, we were training once a week on a seven-a-side pitch.

“Being honest, it was a challenge in the first few months just to get a team out of 11 players to fulfil the fixtures and get to the end of the season.

“This has been the first season where our players haven’t had to pay to play because we’ve had the sponsorship to cover it and a lot of support from the Community Trust.”

The Rotherham United Community Sports Trust is the ‘charitable arm’ of the women’s team that helps delivers initiatives across the Rotherham community.

The New York Stadium

With the help of the trust, the club staff has increased from three members to nine. This has included the hiring of a new video analyst and a strength and conditioning coach.

With 22 players currently on the books, RUWFC will be able to establish a reserve team for next season for the first time.

Jamie Noble, head of community, spoke before the game about the continued growth of the club.

He said: “We obviously have had a fantastic season with an increased matchday crowd off the back of the women’s Euros.

“We really hope that people come down, obviously support the women’s team, but not just support the women’s team but support the women’s game because we really, really want to grow the game in Rotherham. 

“This is the start of lots and lots of new initiatives and lots and lots of new opportunities for the women to inspire the next generation.”
You can get involved with the #HerGameToo campaign here.