The first elite football academies for schoolgirls in the country are set to open in Peterlee and South Tyneside.
St Bede’s Comprehensive school in Peterlee and St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn are set to open their doors in September to the most promising young female players in the region, from any school.
The students will be given professional-standard coaching aimed at enhancing their chance of a career in football, while at the same time guaranteeing them a good education.
The academy will be run by Improtech Soccer and overseen by former professional footballer and Sunderland AFC Ladies manager Carlton Fairweather.
St Bede’s headteacher Fran Craik said: “We are thrilled to be able to offer girls the same service as we are providing for the boys, with some of the most highly-qualified football coaches around giving them the same sort of training you would see at professional football clubs.
“We are fully committed to making St Bede’s a beacon of footballing excellence in East Durham and can’t wait to get started.
We are fully committed to making St Bede’s a beacon of footballing excellence in East Durham and can’t wait to get startedFran Craik
”It’s important to stress that the Academy is open to non-Catholics too - the criteria for being part of the Academy will come down to footballing ability.”
The academy is open to all talented girl footballers - whether religious or non-religious - with the only criteria for joining being talent and dedication
Carlton Fairweather, said: “There’s a reason why professional footballers train during the day - it’s the most receptive time for you to work on your game.
“You’re at your sharpest mentally and physically at that time of the day and for a young player to have the chance to work on their game during school hours is a massive bonus in terms of their development.
“There’s nowhere like this in the North East or across the country where talented young girls will be part of yearly groups of ladies footballers working on their skills alongside their studies.”
Simon Robson, director of operations at Improtech Soccer, said: “We’re delighted that the schools have taken a lead in offering an elite Football Academy for girls.
“There’s so much talent in the area and the passion and enthusiasm for football among young girls is great to see.
“These academies will capitalise on that and by bringing girls together in talented groups, we’ll be able to maximise their improvement.”
Anyone interested in the new Girls’ Elite Football Academy call 07500 690 584 or email firstname.lastname@example.org