Northumbria University has reinforced its reputation as a hotbed for women’s football after it was named as one of eight FA Women’s High Performance Football Centres.

Coach Lane will now become a hub for the development of the women’s game in the North East. Northumbria’s Director Of Sport, Colin Stromsoy, insisted the decision reflects the University’s desire to transform women’s football in the region.

“I think the Football Association’s decision is a reflection of the quality of the sport programme at Northumbria and it recognises our determination to invest equally in both men’s and women’s sport,” he said.

“Following a thorough and testing application process I am delighted that the strength of our offer was recognised. Working with our partners we can help to transform women’s football and secure its long-term future.

“I would like to praise all of our team and, in particular, Sue Vout for her focus and professionalism.”

A key role for the new centres is to support and drive The FA’s ambition to increase the number of qualified coaches and improve the quality of coaching – both central to the growth of the women’s game.

The centres will provide an educational and community-based setting to recruit, develop and deploy coaches. Those coaches will then lead and inspire player development in the women’s and girls’ game.

“I’m delighted that we have been successful in our application to be a women’s FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre,” added Northumbria University’s Sport Development and Engagement Manager Sue Vout.

“This will bring significant benefits to the University, particularly through student athlete recruitment and student volunteering opportunities. As we are the only HPC in the North East we will now work closely with partners to support all aspects of the women’s game. As we also manage the Netball Superleague Franchise this, for me, establishes us as the region’s leader in women’s sport.”

Establishing a connection with the England talent pathway and FA WSL clubs, the centres will provide talented players with an environment to facilitate both their academic and football ambitions, providing a variety of services such as, coaching, sports science and sports medicine and scholarship opportunities.

In addition, The FA Women’s High Performance Football Centres will create the next generation of the game’s behind-the-scenes workforce, whether as volunteers, administrators or development staff.

“We are extremely excited to be able to work with the region and our partners to develop high quality coaches from across all areas of the women’s game,” said Northumbria Student and Staff Development Manager Kate Hansbury.

“We will utilise our own resources and coaches to develop our student workforce and put them in a position where they can go out into the region and engage with the football community.”

The announcement follows The FA’s ‘Gameplan for Growth’ strategy which was unveiled earlier in the year. The strategy outlined The FA’s commitment to double participation and the number of fans in the women’s game by 2020 – at the same time creating a sustainable and successful high performance system to help England teams at every age group compete with distinction on the world stage.

“We are absolutely delighted to become an FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre,” said Northumbria University’s Football Development Coordinator Amber Whiteley. “Since graduating from Northumbria University, I have been fortunate to work in women’s football from grassroots to performance level and have seen the transformation of the sport in recent years.

“Alongside The FA, we are excited to work closely with our local partners to create more and better opportunities in the North East and ultimately help take the female game to the next level.”

Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s Head of Women’s Football, added: “The establishment of these centres is a further proof point of The FA’s commitment to transform the future of women’s football in England.

“They will ensure aspiring coaches and talented players in all parts of the country have access to the best training and support possible, providing us with the greatest opportunity for success at all levels of international football.”

For further information about Women and Girls football go to www.TheFA.com/ForGirls 

Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. To find out more about our courses go to www.northumbria.ac.uk

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