WOMEN'S football in Rotherham is set for a big shot in the arm when some of the world's best female players come to town next summer.
Last week's draw for the 2022 Women's Euros, which will take in three Group games and a quarter-final at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, has ramped up excitement in the town and at the other English venues set to stage the tournament.
Guests and dignitaries packed a function suite at the stadium last Thursday to follow the draw on TV from Manchester.
The NYS will stage France, Italy and Iceland, who share a highly competitive Group D with Belgium.
And on hand to hear the draw were players and representatives from Rotherham United Women FC, a club which has expanded with a new reserve team and hopes to ride the wave of optimism in the female game generated by the Euros.
“I'm hoping there is a beneficial impact for us,” said new first team manager Tony Palmer.
“We will have trials next year and hopefully with the Euros we can attract some players, not just senior ones but younger ones as well so we can get more coming through.
“I think the tournament will have a benefit for other clubs' trials as well.”
Rotherham will host France v Italy (Sunday July 10), Italy v Iceland (Thursday July 14) and Iceland v France (Monday July 18) as well as a quarter-final.
Away from the NYS, England have been given a good chance of progressing after being put into a favourable Group A with Austria, Norway and Northern Ireland.
The further the Lionesses go, there will be an even bigger chance of young girls being tempted to try out the game in places like Rotherham.
“Women's football has grown massively anyway,” added Tony, a qualified UEFA coach who brings 20 years coaching experience to his new role at Rotherham.
Tony Palmer at a Rotherham United Women training session.
“I have been in women's football for ten or 12 years and although it has gradually improved in that time, over the last couple of years it has really come on.
“I think a lot of the women have taken it on board to push the game themselves, not just the FA.
“They have said we want equal rights, we want equal opportunities and so on.”
England kick off the tournament, delayed from last year due to Covid, against Austria at Old Trafford on July 6.
Former England skipper Rio Ferdinand is one of many big names throwing his weight behind the tournament.
He said: “Fans shouldn’t miss out on their chance to be at the biggest women’s EURO ever.
“What a moment it will be for the women’s game.
“It will leave such a massive legacy, inspiring huge numbers to be part of it in the future, whether it’s playing or watching.”
The UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 ticket ballot application window is now open and closes on November 16.
For more information and to enter the public ballot for tickets, visit www.uefa.com/womenseuro/ticketing