Brianna Visalli has paid tribute to the West Ham United fans who cheered the women’s team on at Wembley Stadium in Saturday’s FA Cup Final.
Over 43,000 football supporters attended the competition finale this weekend, with thousands of Hammers making the journey to the Home of Football to back Matt Beard’s Women’s Super League team.
Although the Irons were unable to bring the FA Cup back to Rush Green Stadium, suffering a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City after three goals in the second half, Visalli thanked the fans for their efforts; not just on Saturday, but throughout the entire season.
“I think it speaks volumes that we’ve made it to this stage and played in the FA Cup Final against Manchester City in our first year as a professional team,” Visalli said. “Regardless of the score, I truly believe we showed immense character.
“That character is built into our culture at West Ham United and I think the fans recognised that. I cannot say thank you enough to all the supporters who made the effort to come out with us for the Final.”
A second-half substitute, Visalli was charged with helping the Irons find a way back into Saturday’s match, with the midfielder taking to the fray after Keira Walsh put City into the lead.
Striker Jane Ross had seen a fabulous diving header brilliantly saved in the first period and, while City showed their quality in the second period, Visalli believes West Ham left Wembley Stadium with their heads held high.
She continued: “Sometimes there are chances that you regret not taking, because they can change the pace of the game and overall, the outcome. But we must applaud Man City for stopping those opportunities. That’s football. It can be cruel sometimes.
“I think the first half was an evenly matched game. We got opened up once and that gave them the momentum. We still had opportunities in the second half though, so the 3-0 score-line is disappointing. We can be proud of our efforts, though.”
The Hammers' run to the FA Cup final will be featured on the popular documentary Britain's Youngest Football Boss later this month. Episode seven is available to view on BBC iPlayer now, and will be screened on BBC One this coming Sunday evening after Match of the Day.
With one game left this season, at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, Visalli has expressed the pride she feels at playing for West Ham and working with this group of players.
“It’s a tough loss but I’m really proud of the girls and everything we’ve put into the season,” she added. “I couldn’t be happier with being here with them, and I think the fans can see that togetherness. Hopefully, next year, we can go one step further.”
*West Ham United complete their first FA Women's Super League season with the visit of Brighton & Hove Albion to Rush Green Stadium on Sunday 12 May at 12.30pm. You can be there to cheer on our FA Cup finalists - buy tickets here now!