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Women in football: the game-changers

We look back at the 25 stars featured in UEFA's campaign over the previous five months, which celebrates women's roles in the development of football.

During 2021, UEFA's dedicated campaign has celebrated women making important contributions to the development of football across Europe. Over the previous five months, we have shone the spotlight on 25 star women helping to take the game forward.

Some of those highlighted are known for their standout performances on the pitch, while others work behind the scenes in equally important, but less visible, areas of the sport: boardrooms, supporter stands, commentary boxes and grassroots coaching programmes.

With the flagship UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 less than a year away, it is opportune that we celebrate and recognise the vital contribution of women to European football – and watch out for more game-changers throughout the season!

A closer look at the superstars

Part 1 - March

Women in Football: group one

Our first group, tied to International Women's Day, focused on the theme of those who choose to challenge. Asisat Oshoala overcame a family ban on playing football in her youth, while Emma Hayes and Stephanie Frappart have pioneered the roles of women in coaching and refereeing respectively. Anne Rei has broken down barriers for women off the field for almost 30 years, while Lisa Alzner has traded a promising career as a player for a passion in coaching and inspiring the next generation of girls to take up the game.

Read more about Asisat, Emma, Stéphanie, Anne and Lisa

Part 2 - April

Women in Football: group two

Our second group highlighted an array of women working on and off the pitch, including Tess Olofsson who is one of the top female officials in Europe and officiates in the men’s second tier in Sweden. Maria Suchkova is head of women’s football at the Football Union of Russia (FUR), leading the association's new strategy to raise the game from grassroots to the national team. Reshmin Chowdhury presents both men's and women's football on TV in the UK. Florence Hardouin has been a UEFA Executive Committee member since 2016 and chairs UEFA's Marketing Advisory Committee. Finally, Lidia Alves Baria has a wide-ranging role, from media duties to player care.

Read more about Tess, Maria, Reshmin, Florence and Lidia

Part 3 - May

Women in Football: group three

Next, we featured five women who all make invaluable contributions to football on the pitch and behind the scenes. Firstly, Dr Riem Hussein who is a professional referee and took charge of the UEFA Women's Champions League final in Gothenburg. Sarah Zadrazil is a midfielder for FC Bayern Frauen and Austria. Having taken up the game aged five, she began her career at college in America before returning to the Bundesliga. And players need coaches! Nora Häuptle, a Swiss international player, turned her attention to coaching early, taking on a developmental role with FC Thun's youth sides before experiencing life as a fitness coach on the tennis world tour. Priscilla Janssens was UEFA's first female venue director when she started the role in 2004 and has since worked across major UEFA and FIFA tournaments ever since, while Jessica Carmikli combines a professional playing career at Beşiktaş in Turkey with raising her two young children.

Read more about Riem, Sarah, Nora, Priscilla and Jessica

Part 4 - June

Women in Football: group four

In June, our attention focused on five female stars who are all making an impact around UEFA EURO 2020. Sharon Burkhalter-Lau took the spotlight as the current operations director at UEFA. Next, Lene Kryger who was managing director of the tournament in host city Copenhagen. Another off-the-pitch superstar was Diana Pirciu who managed 800 volunteers in Bucharest. Former England international Eniola Aluko combines TV punditry with a new role as sporting director of Angel City FC in America, and lastly, we talked to Célia Šašić about her role in Munich and looked ahead to her role as an official UEFA EURO 2024 ambassador.

Read more about Eniola, Sharon, Lene, Diana and Célia

Part 5 - July

Women in Football: group five

In our final group, we introduced five more brilliant females who are all at the top of their game. Caroline Seger featured as the only active European player with more than 200 international caps. Midfielder Seger made an impressive record 215th appearance for the Swedish national team in June. Zahra Khamisa is a host city development officer for UEFA Women's EURO 2022 and leads on diversity and inclusion to help create a legacy for the tournament. Next, we talked to one of the most renowned female players, Wendie Renard who is a seven-time UEFA Women's Champions League winner. Carolina Morace took centre-stage as head coach at Lazio. Carolina is a UEFA Pro Licence holder and the first woman to coach a professional men’s team. Finally, we spoke to Katrien Jans about her role as head of women’s football at the Royal Belgian FA.

Read more about Caroline, Zahra, Wendie, Carolina and Katrien