Sunderland AFC Ladies have been for the last 15 years, the highest ranking women’s football team in the North East.
Sunderland Ladies were formed 15 years ago when East Durham Houghall Kestrels and Sunderland Ladies combined to come under the umbrella of ‘Sunderland Women’. Prior to this their roots lay in Tyneside with Blyth Spartans Kestrels. Since the merger Sunderland Women FC have consistently performed to a very high standard. They have played four seasons in the Northern Division and six seasons in the Women’s Premier League.
In the seasons 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 Sunderland Women finished runners up in the Northern Division, only just missing promotion to the premiership on both occasions.
Season 2004 – 2005 saw Sunderland secure promotion to the Premier League winning the Northern Division by 6 clear points. For the first time in their history they reached the quarter finals of the Women’s FA Cup, only losing to a strong Charlton team in the last few minutes of the game.
Season 2005 – 2006 ended with the club retaining their position in the top flight despite losing the financial backing of parent club SAFC.
Season 2006 – 2007 – Sunderland were relegated to the Premier Northern Division.
Season 2007 – 2008 – Due to relegation Sunderland Women lost some of their international players but after a disappointing start to the campaign Sunderland finished third in the Northern Division and were looking to build on their position.
Season 2008 - 2009 –A successful season with the club gaining an increased and local and national profile. Sunderland Women FC achieved, runners up in the FA Women's cup final after losing 2-1 to National Premier League Champions Arsenal, also receiving the E.ON Team of the Round Award twice. Secured promotion back to the National Premier League after winning the Northern Division and Manager Mick Mulhern received Tesco Manager of the Year at the FA Women's Football Awards.
After winning promotion back to the National Division Sunderland had an excellent season finishing in a very credible 5th position whilst the reserves maintained their status in Premier League Northern/Midlands Division One of the Reserve Section
After missing out in their bid for entry to the Super League, Sunderland Women had their most successful season ever. They won the Women’s National Premiership Division by 7 points as well as reaching the quarter finals of both the League Cup and FA Cup, only losing to Arsenal in the FA Cup in extra time. The reserves also maintained their status in Division One of the Reserve Section.
Season 2011 – 2012
Sunderland’s most successful season to date winning both the National Premier League Cup and also retaining their National Premier League title, proving that the previous season was no ‘flash in the pan’. In October 2011 Mick Mulhern was named ‘Manager of the Year’ for the second time for the team events in the 2010 – 2011 season. Mick is now the longest serving manager in the league (13 years).
Season 2012 – 2013
National Premier League Champions for the third consecutive year and a place in the FA Women's Super league.
Sunderland Women currently have two Northern
Ireland Senior Internationals, two players in the England Under 23 squad, two players in the England Under 19 squad (with one being
on standby). Alongside Everton, Leeds and Birmingham Sunderland have supplied more players into the England International set up than
any other clubs in the whole league structure.
In September 2013, Sunderland Women’s Football Club were formally integrated as part of the Sunderland AFC structure.
Following the announcement of the formation of a new FA Women’s Super League (WSL), which is set to launch in the spring of 2014, SAFC worked hand in hand with members of the club in order to prepare a comprehensive bid to secure a place within the new league.
The team will now be known as Sunderland AFC Ladies Limited and SAFC will be its parent company.
As part of the structure, our reserve team, will play in The FA WSL Development League.