Celebrating International Women’s Day 2023 with Carlisle United Ladies manager Tracy Gannon

International Women’s Day is a global event that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.  This years theme is “Embrace Equity,” it challenges us to honour women’s achievements, take action to drive gender parity, and collectively build a more diverse, inclusive, and gender-equal world. So, to celebrate this day we thought we would catch up with Tracy Gannon the manager of Carlisle United Ladies to get a little bit of insight into her the team and what IWD means to them.

In 2020, Tracy was nominated for the Inspirational Women of the Year award for her tireless dedication to football in the local community. She has been promoting and coaching football throughout the county for the past 30 years and, in the process, has encouraged many girls and young women to take up the sport.

Q. Hi Tracy, What do you love most about your role
Everything, the ups the downs the tears the smiles. You have to be prepared to take
the whole package on good and bad that’s what makes it. I get to work with players
who are good people. It is a big commitment but I enjoy that. The rewards of seeing
players grow in confidence and belief in themselves over the season as your pulling a
new team together is more than worth it. You always get a lift from being part of their

Q. What is the most important advice you have ever been given? 
Work hard, nothing is free, no one owes you anything. You get out what you put in.

Q. As the Carlisle United Ladies Manager how do you promote wellbeing?
This is important to us as a group and a team. When you have such a diverse group of
women of all ages and backgrounds. Covid like for many was a very testing time and it
certainly made us more conscious of everyone’s wellbeing and how important our
football space needs to feel safe. We continue to check in on everyone and create an
environment where players can feel comfortable in talking openly if they are struggling
in whatever way is best for them.
If we feel that any player needed more support then we would signpost them on to the local health and wellbeing charities, including Carlisle Eden Mind.

Q. What does IWD mean to you?
For me it is a celebration looking at what women have and can achieve, it show cases
what is happening right now, and gives us a chance to contemplate how things can be for
women in the future. There is still a lot to be done and it is up to everyone to keep driving
things forward.

Q. With it being International Women’s Day and this years theme being Embrace
Equity, as the manager of the CUFC ladies team and spending so many years at the
club, have you noticed shifts in Equity first hand? 

Yes, there has definitely been a change for the good but is it there yet id have to say not yet.
We are embracing diversity and equity more but we need to reflect on how we can all be a
part of the solution and not the problem. We need to keep talking positively and questioning
things with our friends, family, and work colleagues about ways we can collectively work to
impact those positive changes. As IWD say “Everyone starts from different places, so true
inclusion and belonging requires equitable action”.

Q. What did you dream of doing when you were a little girl growing up in

When I was younger. I actually wanted to be a PTI in the army it was the only thing I could think of that allowed me to do a Physically active job that included sport. There were not all that
many options put forward to girls when I was younger except those stereotypical roles
for women. I never was very conventional so eventually found my way into what I loved
combining sport Development football and community work. You get there in the end if
you keep going

Q. What’s the most valuable piece of advice you can pass on to anyone, especially
women trying to establish their careers?
Never give up. There is always a way, sometimes it may take longer or you may have
to go down a few back roads to get to where you want to be. Remember You’ll always
meet people who say “you can’t do that”, and in some cases it may be true, but you won’t ever
know until you try. Never give up on yourself work hard, have faith and be brave

Q. With lots of young girls getting inspired by ladies football, especially after winning
the Euros last year, what are the top tips you’d give them if they want a future in

There are plenty of job opportunities out there now in football not just playing, you just
need to go out and find them for yourself show initiative and be proactive. If you get
knocked down jump dust yourself off and go again you need to prove your what they
need. Stay positive and true to yourself. If you put the work in it will pay off.

Q. Which women inspire you the most?
There are many women out there who have done amazing things across history and I’ve also had the pleasure to work with some very special women too but I have to say the two women who inspire me the most are my Sister Lesley and my Cousin Denise. They have both been through extremely tough illnesses and losses and yet still get up every day and continue to fight. They are the strongest people I know and I’m so proud of them both They inspire me every day to be the best I can be and to appreciate everything I have and live everyday to the fullest

Tracy and the team were at Carlisle Youth Zone last night visiting their senior club to help celebrate International Women’s Day 2023. The members really enjoyed their visit and learned some new skills. If you’d like more information on girls projects then head over to the Carlisle Youth Zone Facebook page.