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By Faye Hackwell Cambridge United Women’s team has two new Her Game Too Player Advocates.

Midfielder Alysha Stojko-Down and goalkeeper Lauren Webb have stepped forward to help raise awareness of the campaign at Cambridge United and support activities and events at the club.

Alysha said: “With the growth of women's football, it is increasingly important to leave the game in a better state than I inherited it. 

“Through playing football and pushing for better standards at the clubs I've played at, I feel I’ve made a positive impact.

“However, being a Her Game Too Player Advocate allows me to more directly influence the perception of women within football - creating a better space for all women and girls.”

Witnessing gender discrimination and sexist comments that friends and other women have received online has fuelled Alysha’s desire to want to change attitudes.

She added: “It's impossible to escape gender discrimination in women's football.

“Although I haven't experienced it directly myself, on most articles, Tweets, Facebook posts and TikTok videos, you can scroll through the comments and find a sea of them saying how rubbish women's football is, how much the commenter doesn't care about it  - but cares enough to get angry and make a comment - and you'll always see comments from people thinking they're funny and saying women shouldn't play football as they should stay at home in the kitchen.

“I’ve seen teammates receive direct messages and comments from people who have never seen them play, saying how awful they are at football and why do they bother. 

“I’ve also seen players I know be massively sexualised, when all they're doing is playing football and posting about it.”

Alysha is hoping to work with Cambridge United’s Her Game Too Ambassador, Emma Smith, and Manager Advocate, Darren Marjoram, to continue to grow the female game in the area and ensure women and girls have a safe space in football.

“Without campaigns like Her Game Too, there is no doubt in my mind that women's football would not have grown to the size it currently is. 

“The tireless work of volunteers fighting for better standards has grown the women's game exponentially, proving over and over again the marketability, value and quality of women's football when the correct attention and resources are dedicated to the game.

“These campaigns also provide young girls with a platform to see a future in women's football, whether that's as a player, fan or working within the game. 

“The people working on the campaigns are inspirations to current and future generations of footballers and football fans.”

Alysha’s teammate Lauren Webb has been personally subjected to sexist comments, both in person and online, as a player and wants to help Her Game Too to stamp out misogynism.

She said: “I have unfortunately experienced sexist abuse as well as gender discrimination from young children and teenagers this season, at an away fixture, and was so shocked and disappointed at what I was being called.

“I’ve also seen multiple comments on X and, when I was younger, I also received comments from people who followed me.

“I want to be a Player Advocate for a variety of reasons - firstly, being a female footballer at Cambridge United, I’ve had a fantastic experience of what this club can provide for the women’s game, but I also feel I can do more. 

“Secondly, being a PE teacher, I feel that my role is to educate young people to not only be physically active, but also to strive to become well-rounded and considerate individuals in the world of sport, physical activity and life in general. 

“I feel that I can use my experiences in a school setting and at football to help promote the values of Her Game Too.”

Earlier this month, Lauren and her team took a lap of honour around the pitch at Cambridge United’s Her Game Too dedicated fixture, against Northampton Town.

She added: “We want to ensure that the future generation of females are able to continue sharing their issues and concerns without fear of judgement.

“I hope to help by supporting the progress of educating and removing the sexism that happens in the game - and continue the fantastic work that Her Game Too does.”

Cambridge United’s Her Game Too Ambassador Emma Smith said: “I’m delighted Lauren and Alysha have joined my Her Game Too team. 

“Their manager, Darren Marjoram, became our campaign’s first Manager Advocate last month and, by becoming Player Advocates, they are showing the full commitment of Cambridge United Women to our campaign. 

“Lauren and Alysha have been so supportive and I’m looking forward to working with them to promote Her Game Too’s message further.”


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