A decade on from helping 1. FFC Frankfurt win the first UEFA Women's Cup, 2012 final ambassador Steffi Jones remembers the rainy day when she made European female football history.
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Steffi Jones is the ambassador for the UEFA Women's Champions League final at Munich's Olympiastadion on 17 May – a decade on from playing a huge part in the first European female club decider at another of Germany's famous old stadia.
In the last game played at the Waldstadion in Frankfurt before its rebuilding for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, 1. FFC Frankfurt won the first UEFA Women's Cup, and centre-back Jones scored the opening goal in a 2-0 defeat of Umeå IK. Jones, who then departed for Washington Freedom before returning to help Frankfurt to another victory in 2006 not long before her retirement, remembers that day well and what grew from it.
"It was the first time that we had played in a men's stadium, in a big stadium and it was raining cats and dogs," Jones told UEFA.com. "
Something that was normal for the men's teams was a real highlight for us. Then the year after, you have to see that every year it became bigger and bigger with more spectators. The clubs invested more, trying to really fill up the stadiums and make real events out of it. I must say that this Champions League final in general is really something special. It's a great highlight."
Not least because what was at the time a record 12,106 crowd braved the rain to watch the final, proof that the new competition was already an established highlight. That is likely to be reinforced in Munich as potentially the first 30,000-plus attendance in the event's history watch Frankfurt aim for a fourth title, their first since the tournament's 2009 rebranding, against holders Olympique Lyonnais.
Asked if the crowd made the event a special highlight, Jones confirmed: "Yes indeed. The fact that you could play with your club against other international teams was something extraordinary. Only as a national team player could you say that you had participated at a EURO for example, because you only had the domestic league, and now you had this international competition, and that was special. You get goose bumps and you think, 'Yes, cool!', and you see other national players lining up. That was something very big back then."