After Vivianne Miedema told the press on Thursday on a very interesting interview that homosexuality in football will not be fully accepted until an elite men’s player comes out as gay, she talked on Friday about women’s football growth and how Arsenal is the perfect example of acceptance between men’s and women’s, as both teams are trying to break down the barriers that separate them.
Ever since the Netherlands international moved to England in May 2017, players from both senior teams have had equal access to the club’s London Colney training base.
This decision, that could be seen by many as a “small gesture”, has allowed the women’s team, now defined by the club under the same “first-team” umbrella as Mikel Arteta’s Premier League side, to make use of all the facilities previously used only by their male counterparts.
“To be honest, we are quite lucky at Arsenal,” Miedema said.
While the reigning Women’s Super League champions still don’t have the Emirates Stadium for competitive fixtures, being in and around the men’s set-up has had a positive impact.
“When I walked in here two-and-a-half years ago it was like this already so I’m not used to anything else”, said the former Bayern striker, “At Bayern, we trained in a completely different area and we didn’t feel part of the club, but here if you come in in the morning you see the men’s players and it just feels like home.”
“There is always going to be contact, with some of the boys more than the others, but if you go to an Arsenal shoot or a kit shoot you know each other already.
“The contact is there and it is only a good thing, for me it is how it should be. It shouldn’t be ‘women here, men there’ if you do it right as a club, you do it how we do it here.
“That for me is the thing as well, why ‘men’s football’ and why ‘women’s football?’ We all share the same passion and we all go through the exact same experiences so it can only help each other improve and get better.”
Arsenal lifted the WSL title last season, with Miedema making a great team contribution as she scored 22 goals in 20 games; so, it wasn’t strange that she was voted PFA women’s player of the year for her efforts. But she was full of praise for the impact made by manager Joe Montemurro, who arrived at Arsenal soon after Miedema.
“I think coming to this club, the first three or four months were really complicated and difficult,” she added, “But then him (Montemurro) coming in and doing what he has done to the club was really important, not just to us but the whole club.”
“No-one expected us to win the league last year and that is a lot of credit to him, the way we play really suits us and we all really enjoy it. Even this year I think we still have played great football even though we are struggling a little more right now.
Definitely, all the good luck to Miedema and Arsenal this season, who are doing a great work to maintain on the top 3 and fight for the acclaimed WSL title. Will they win? Only time will tell.