Not many Rangers supporters will be aware that there actually are a number of Rangers women and girls teams, even though the club runs them for a number of years now. Over the coming weeks we will try to take a closer look at these teams and how they performed this season. Season in „women terms“ mean March till November. They have a break from play – but not training – over the winter period.
Currently, Rangers have four different teams playing football, even though the term „different“ is not exactly true. The main team are the Rangers Ladies who play in the Scottish Women Premier League. The team is still quite young, not just in terms of existence, but also in term of players. So much so that oftentimes players from the Girls u17s squad play for the Ladies team. The dominant force in Scottish women football is Glasgow City, who won the league championship for 6 years in a row now. Established teams like Spartans, Hibernian, Forfar Farmington and those playing in the green-grey made it hard for our ladies to gain any lasting foothold in the upper half of the table. The Rangers Ladies finished 9th in the 2012 league season.
The second team are the Rangers Girls u17s who ply their trade in the West / South West 17s League. The current squad is actually a rather good one, yet, as has been said, at times depleted as players have been called up to play for the Ladies team. That in turn required the u17s to use players from the Girls 15s squad. Nonetheless, the u17s enjoyed a great season culminating in a controversially re-arranged Old Firm game at Barrowlands on Friday November 9th, where they had to face title challengers Celtic at their ground at Barrowlands. Controversially since this game was played on the evening of the u15s Cup Final at Toryglen, meaning that some of the u15s who had to be called up by the u17s were bound to play at lunchtime the next day too, handing a double advantage to both Celtic teams. We take a look at both games in the next article, yet, a spoiler ahead here: the Rangers Girls showed great spirit and not only did they beat Celtic that cold November night to claim the u17s League Title, the u15s also eased past Celtic the next day to finish the season with a brilliant Treble. If the u17s can keep together, the basis for an improved SWPL Ladies team is apparently there.
Next up are the Rangers Girls u15s, who essentially ruled the roost in 2012. The girls have been in fine form this season, keeping a 100% record throughout the 20-game run towards the Central West 15s League championship title, scoring a staggering 134 goals, conceeding just 10. Quite a few of the u15s were used by the u17s and it was the u15s Megan Mason who smashed two goals past Celtic in the u17s league decider late on. She followed this up with another goal against Celtic the next day in the u15s Cup Final. It was sure the u15s' season and one would hope that they keep together and the talented girls are promoted to the u17s in due course.
Rangers started this season with a Girls u13s team in the West 13s League too, finishing second behind those in green and grey. For the time being, not that much can be revealed on them (due to lack of information).
As of now, all four teams will start again next season. People might wonder how Rangers FC could - despite all the troubles of 2012 - keep these teams running. Rangers receive a grant from UEFA for having a women team, a grant that pays for their venue, petrol money and somesuch. The Ladies play at Petershill Juniors Football Ground, while Girls train and play at the Toryglen Regional Football Centre. Up to the age of 17 all the girls pay £35 per month for training, pitches, referees and somesuch. After that they are deemed capable to play for the Ladies team or not.
Thus, these Bluebelles actually pay to play for Rangers and come from as far as Dumfries, Livingston, Ayrshire and Stranraer (by themselves) to train on selected weekdays from 20.30 to 22.00. The future looks bright in terms of players. Let's hope the Rangers management will also look more closely after the women teams' developement in the future, as this will not only give more success to the club, but also draw more interest towards Rangers as an institution of the community and being a family club.
On December 18th, the day Rangers play Annan Athletic at Ibrox, the Girls teams will be invited to the pitch at half-time and one would hope the Rangers support gives them a good round of applause for their efforts on and off the pitch. Here's to the Rangers women teams!
u15 Treble Queens
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