Arsenal Women


Kelly Smith passes on experience to the academy

Club legend Kelly Smith has returned to the fold, this time as a coach, to aid the development of our future stars in the women's academy. 

As she works towards earning her UEFA A License coaching badges, Smith headed down to lead some of our young Gunners in a training session - which will form a programme until the end of the season. 

“It's good to be back in the Arsenal kit!” Smith said. “There's no better club for me. Everyone knows that it's my club. This is where I hope to start my coaching again with the under-21 girls. There are some really good players here to work with.

“The girls are really receptive, they really want to learn, so it's good to get my feet back on the grass, finally get the boots back on and start coaching again.”

Reflecting back on her own development as a player, Smith spoke of the importance of growth off the pitch at this formative age. 

"They're training now four days a week, so it's good that they're on the ball as much, learning and developing that way and taking tactics on board. They're just trying to grow as a person and as a player."

“Arsenal have been one of the leading clubs for as long as I can remember since Vic Akers started the team. So yeah, the youth and the Academy is very important to the club. It always has been. You know, Alex Scott, Leah Williamson and Anita Asante have all come through.

"We've got some good players that have a lot of history with the club too. And this is what this is about: finding one or two little gems who can potentially play first-team football for the club.”

We joined Kelly in her first training session with the women's academy, which you can watch in the video above. 


Williamson tops BBC Woman’s Hour Power List

Leah Williamson with BBC journalist Nuala McGovern

Two of our own have been named in the 2023 BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Power List, with Leah Williamson topping the list and Lotte Wubben-Moy coming in seventh. 

This year, Woman's Hour chose to honour the UK’s 30 most outstanding women in sport across five categories: sportswomen, leaders, change-makers, amplifiers, and grassroots. Woman's Hour named Williamson at the top of the list live on the programme in front of an audience in the BBC Radio Theatre, hosted by Nuala McGovern.

“It’s lovely – I’m just trying to do my job," Williamson said. "My mum will be happy! It’s really nice, I’m slightly taken aback by that but very appreciative.

"As women we’ve been living in the shadows, maybe, but we know that we have the ability to step up. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it – which is why when we do recognise women like this, it’s great because those aspiring to be in these positions can believe that there is a place for them in the sporting world.”

Williamson captained England's Lionesses to victory at Euro 2022 and off the pitch, has consistently championed equal opportunities for girls in sport. Earlier this month, the UK government announced it would provide all schoolgirls equal access to football following the Lionesses' open letter, which voiced the squad's collective belief that boys and girls should enjoy the same level of access to sport in school. 

Fellow Gunner and England centre-back Wubben-Moy was also recognised for her work in helping to lead this campaign and striving to secure a legacy for women's football. 

“A conversation led by Lotte Wubben-Moy and Leah Williamson on the bus from the Trafalgar Square celebrations has delivered real change in society and the announcement is a testament to their tenacity and excellent engagement with the Government. The FA are as proud of them as we have ever been," said Baroness Sue Campbell, Director of Women’s Football for The FA and second on this year's Power List. 

Former Gunner Alex Scott was also featured in the list, at number 26. The list was judged by a panel comprised of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Sam Quek, and Ebony Rainford-Brent, and chaired by Jessica Creighton.

Here is the top 10 in full:

1. Leah Williamson, England captain and Arsenal footballer who champions equal opportunities for girls in sport

2. Baroness Sue Campbell, Director of Women’s Football for The Football Association

3. Alice Dearing, who is one of the four co-founders of the Black Swimming Association

4. Ellie Downie, medal-winning gymnast for Great Britain who has spoken out about abusive behaviour in British Gymnastics

5. Heather Dunnell, Founder of Scottish Women’s Walking Group

6. Helen Hardy, who created the only official retail platform in the world dedicated to women’s football merchandise

7. Lotte Wubben-Moy, Arsenal and England footballer who campaigned for equal access to football for girls in the UK

8. Beth Barrett-Wild, Director of Women’s Professional Game at the England and Wales Cricket Board

9. Sophie Christiansen CBE, eight times Paralympic equestrian gold medallist

10. Dina Asher-Smith, British record holder for 100m sprint

See Full List

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