In 2009, eight teams came together for the first time to compete in the new WPWL; three of the current clubs were part of the inaugural season, Aberystwyth Town, Swansea City, Cardiff Met (initially UWIC Ladies), who were joined by Caernarfon Town, Llanidloes, Manorbier Ladies, Newcastle Emlyn and Wrexham. Initially the league comprised of two mini leagues based on geographical location, with a play-off between the top northern and southern teams to decide who would take the overall title. The 2009/10 final saw Swansea City beat Caernarfon Town to become the first ever winners of the WPWL trophy.
Change was already afoot in the second season change, increasing the league to ten teams; Manorbier resigned their spot allowing two new clubs to join in the South, Caerphilly Castle Ladies and Trefelin Ladies, while Llandudno Junction were added to the North division. Relegation was also on the cards and Llandudno Junction were the first to suffer the drop. What didn’t change however was the title holders as Swansea City again took home the top prize, along with the FAW Women’s Cup, the first double of the WPWL era.
Northop Hall Girls were promoted into the league for 2011/12, when Cardiff Met (as UWIC Ladies) won the WPWL for their first time. It was also the last season the WPWL was divided regionally, as in 2012/13 the mini leagues were unified into one national pot and expanded to 12 clubs, allowing Cardiff City Women to not just enter the league for the first time, but also bag the top spot.
The League Cup competition was introduced in 2013/14, won by Cardiff Met along their way to the first WPWL triple, as they reclaimed the WPWL title and won Women’s Cup for the first time.
2014/15 saw the start of a fierce league rivalry between Cardiff Met and Swansea, with Met initially winning out, and again in 2015/16 on goal difference. Swansea broke the pattern in 2016/17, the season when the league reverted to the ten-team model we have today. Meanwhile in the Cups; Abergavenny (as PILCS) overcame Swansea to take the WPWL Cup in 2014/15, Swansea did however claim some silverware that year, beating Cardiff City Women in the Women’s Cup. The Swans faced Abergavenny again in the 2015/16 WPWL Cup, this time taking victory. While Met missed out on the League crown in 2016/17, they won both the cup competitions, beating Swansea through penalties in the Women’s Cup and taking the league cup from Abergavenny, who reached the final for the third time in a row.
Orchard, a Cardiff-based marketing and events company, were announced as the first ever WPWL sponsor in 2017/18, a partnership that has continued and developed, maximising the promotion of women’s football in Wales.
Met returned to the top of the League in 2017/18, Cyncoed won the WPWL Cup for the first time and the Women’s Cup was fought between Cardiff City Women and Swansea, the latter taking it for the third time. 2018/19 was dominated by Met, who won the triple after beating Swansea in the final of the Women’s Cup and Abergavenny in the League Cup.
As we enter 2019/20, change is once again afoot, this time in the WPWL Cup where the first round has been amended and a review of the WPWL underway to ensure that it continues to be at the forefront of the domestic women’s game in Wales for years to come.