Women's Champions League final: Gwennan Harries wants boost from Cardiff showpiece

A crowd of 22,000 turned up to watch the Women's Champions League final at Cardiff City Stadium
A crowd of 22,000 turned up to watch the Women's Champions League final at Cardiff City Stadium

Former Wales Women striker Gwennan Harries hopes that Cardiff hosting the Women's Champions League final will boost women's football in Wales.

Lyon beat Paris St-Germain on penalties at Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday.

Harries praised the Football Association of Wales' promotion of the match and hopes to see similar support for the women's game in Wales.

"I've been really impressed with the promotion work they've done for this game," Harries said.

"I just hope that we have the same amount of effort put into the female game; the national games, whether it's Under-19s or senior level.

"Because if we take the last Wales game, Jess Fishlock winning her 100th cap in Ystrad Mynach, in front of a big crowd of over 1,000.

"But we should be looking to compete with the likes of England and looking at crowds of 5,000-6,000. There's no reason why we can't."

A crowd of 22,000 watched holders Lyon beat Paris St Germain 7-6 on penalties, after the two sides were locked 0-0 after extra time.

Gwennan Harries
Gwennan Harries won 56 caps for Wales, scoring 18 goals

"There's such a big interest in women's football now," said Harries, 29, who is a PE teacher having being forced to retire by a knee injury in December 2015.

"I know that as a teacher. When I started playing in school, I was the only girl and had to play in a boys' team.

"Now as a teacher when I'm seeing the next group of youngsters coming up, the year sevens - or 12-year-olds that have just come in last September - there was over 30 girls turning up regularly to football practice, which I'd never seen before.

"So there's definitely interest there. We just need to keep promoting and pushing it.

"The interest is huge now. I think girls are recognising that it's not just your more traditional sports, your netball and your football, there's any sports - rugby.

"You've seen a massive boom in the girls' rugby, playing in schools certainly because of the new clusters that they've put in place.

"So I think we as football, we're at a bit of a crossroads where we're going to get taken over by other sports if we don't keep promoting and pushing it."

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