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Welcome, Wrexham! Women's Head of Football Operations discusses team’s trip to the US 

If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

Wrexham Women’s Head of Football Operations Gemma Owen lives by that motto as a role model in women’s sports. Seeing female pro athletes allows young girls to dream of becoming one.   

Owen caught up with us as the team prepares for its first trip to the U.S. Ally will support the Wrexham Women with their visit to Cary, N.C., in June for The Soccer Tournament (TST), which will also host the men's team. Both squads will then travel throughout the U.S. in July as part of their Wrex Coast Tour. This partnership is the latest commitment by Ally to change the game for women's sports.
In 2021, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney took over the Welsh football club and changed a community. Through their docuseries, Welcome to Wrexham, the world has become fans of the footballers and the people of the city. 

The latest season highlights the stark difference in financial support and resources for the women’s team – a difference Reynolds and McElhenney have vowed to help change. 

Here’s what Owen had to say.

What's it like to see young girls enjoying the documentary?  

Knowing that we are now being featured so heavily alongside the men’s team is powerful. Women’s football isn’t as big as it is in the States, yet. So to be documented alongside a fully professional men’s team is huge – and now young girls here can believe there is a place for them. 

Who's been an ally in your life? 

I’ve been fortunate to have quite a few. When I was young, my field hockey coach was a huge role model and support for me. She would help get me to training and games – as one of five children growing up, I wouldn’t have been able to play without her support. And then my primary school teacher, Mr. Edwards, selected me for the boys’ football team – it didn’t even phase him that I wasn’t a boy. He saw I could play and he wasn’t going to let me get left out. 

Where do you see women's sports in five or 10 years? 

Women’s football in the U.K. is starting to sell out stadiums and it is incredible. I hope to see more demand for teams across all divisions and levels, as well as growth in young talent development programs, which are vital to football’s foundation. I would also love to see more mainstream coverage. We are a bit behind here with that, but with companies like Ally growing the commercial opportunities, the more young girls can see – and believe. 

What does Ally's support mean to you? 

Pretty much everything. [The trip will] help grow our program in so many ways. Not only is it allowing us to play in the United States, which is something that we probably wouldn't get to do otherwise, we’ll be able to test ourselves against international opposition and see where we measure up.

What's something you're looking forward to doing in the U.S.? 

Meeting the supporters who have been watching so kindly and passionately from afar. It’s been wonderful to see fans come from all over to watch us play. We know livestreams of our games have skyrocketed, but to be able to actually play in front of those who have supported us will be a true honor.

Setting new goals

Bringing the Wrexham Women’s team to the U.S. is just the latest women's sports project supported by Ally, which in 2022 pledged to reach equal spending in paid advertising across women's and men's sports programming over five years.  

“We’re grateful to the team at Ally for their support in getting the team out on the road this summer,” said McElhenney.

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