Future looks bright for girls football in UAE, says Man City captain Houghton

The English club’s all-time women’s appearance leader sees the big difference in the global level of the women's game being reflected in the UAE

By Team KT

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Manchester City Women’s Captain Steph Houghton with girl students. - Supplied photo
Manchester City Women’s Captain Steph Houghton with girl students. - Supplied photo

Published: Fri 3 Nov 2023, 5:01 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Nov 2023, 5:02 PM

Manchester City Women’s Captain Steph Houghton believes the women’s game in the UAE will continue to grow from strength to strength, with the defender making the trip to Abu Dhabi in recent weeks to see the impressive standard of the girls’ game at local grassroots level.

Houghton, who recently signed a one-year extension with City, returned to Abu Dhabi for the first time since 2015, with the club’s all-time women’s appearance leader seeing the big difference in the global level of the women's game being reflected in the UAE.

“It’s my first time back in Abu Dhabi since our first training sessions, and the programme has really grown so much on the girls’ side – there were only a few girls back then and now we have full squads taking part and training regularly. To see so many girls training here in Abu Dhabi is amazing to see, and there’s such a love for football here which is brilliant,” said Houghton.

Houghton discusses kits with girl students. - Supplied photo
Houghton discusses kits with girl students. - Supplied photo

“The difference in standard is massive. The level of play has really improved, and that’s down to the coaching that the players are receiving, including from City Football Schools in the region.”

As a standout for Manchester City Women’s success in her decade with the club, Houghton sees the desire from young players is stronger than ever, with more opportunities coming to the girls’ game in recent years.

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She said: “There's been a lot of girls who've really impressed me. They've got a great opportunity to continue to grow with some of the best coaches in the region so that's what I'm delighted to see.”

Houghton with girl students. - Supplied photo
Houghton with girl students. - Supplied photo

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