Women's association football, also commonly known as women's football or women's soccer, is the most prominent team sport played by women around the globe. It is played at the professional level in numerous countries throughout the world and 176 national teams participate internationally.
The history of women's football has seen major competitions being launched at both the national and international levels. Women's football has faced many struggles throughout its history. Although its first golden age occurred in the United Kingdom in the early 1920s, when one match achieved over 50,000 spectators, The Football Association initiated a ban in 1921 that disallowed women's football games from the grounds used by its member clubs. The ban stayed in effect until July 1971.
The Saudi Arabia women's national football team would be the national team representing the kingdom in international football. However, the team does not yet exist because of influence of religious leaders in Saudi Arabia and systematic discrimination against women's sport, active opposition of political leaders and sport administrators. International pressure has come to bear on the country to field a women's team, and FIFA now allows the hijab to be worn in competition. A meeting at the College of Business Administration in Jeddah was seen as a possible first step in a team eventually being created.
Despite a lack of official support for a national team and women's football in general, women have self-organised their own teams and play games out of the sight of men. Created in 2006, King's United women football club was the first women's football club in the country. No official data is kept regarding participation rates for women football players.
Domínguez on 25 July 2013 in Tukwila, Washington
Maribel Guadalupe Domínguez Castelán (born 18 November 1978) is a Mexican footballer who currently plays for the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women's Soccer League and is captain and leading scorer of the Mexico women's national football team. She is known internationally as "Marigol" for her record of 46 goals scored in 49 matches for the Mexican national team.
Domínguez has played professionally in the United States, Spain, and Mexico. In 2003, she was the first Mexican-born player to sign for a team in the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), the top division in the United States at the time. As a forward for the Atlanta Beat, she was a leading scorer in the league during its final year of operation. In 2004, she made international headlines when she signed for a men's team in Mexico but was denied by FIFA. From 2005 to 2013, she played professionally for several teams around the world including FC Barcelona, UE L'Estartit, San Diego Sunwaves, Chicago Red Stars, and UAEH Panteras.
As of 2013, Domínguez has played the most games (109) and scored the most goals (75) in the history of the women's national team. In 2004, she was ranked in FIFA's top 25 women players in the world. She holds the distinction of being the only Mexican player to have appeared and scored for the Mexican team in Olympic Games, World Cup, CONCACAF Gold Cup and Pan American Games.
The L.League (in Japanese: "L・リーグ", Officially "日本女子サッカーリーグ",Nihon Joshi Sakkā Rīgu) is the top flight of women's association football in Japan. It is the women's equivalent of the J.League, but not professional; however, some individual players are professional. The league consists of two divisions: division 1 has the nickname Nadeshiko League (なでしこリーグ Nadeshiko Rīgu) and division 2 Challenge League (チャレンジリーグ Charenji Rīgu). Since 2008 it has been sponsored by Plenus (株式会社プレナス), a fast food company based in Fukuoka, and are thus billed as Plenus Nadeshiko League and Plenus Challenge League.