A lot has changed in the women’s game since Kelly Simmons joined the Football Association from Warwick University in 1990. “There was just so little then, and so many cultural barriers to overcome internally and externally,” she says. “Those barriers just felt so huge and it’s been wonderful to see them smashed away and for women’s football to be so mainstream now.”
Simmons, the FA’s director of the women’s professional game, is speaking after being named in the inaugural Women’s International Champions Cup Best XI, which aims to honour players, executives, coaches and journalists who have pioneered or are pioneering the development of women’s football and women in football.
She has been named on the list alongside the 2019 World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, Brazil’s No 10 Marta, the Lyon centre-back Wendie Renard, the two-times World Cup-winning head coach Jill Ellis, the former referee Bibiana Steinhaus, Lyon’s owner and president