The first elite football academy for schoolgirls in the country is set to open in South Tyneside.
From September, St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn will offer a dedicated programme for girls who have talent for the sport from across the borough and beyond.
Th scheme will also be running at St Bede’s Comprehansive School, in Peterlee, County Durham.
They 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 Hebburn Football Academy will be run by Improtech Soccer and overseen by former professional footballer and Sunderland AFC Ladies manager Carlton Fairweather.
St Joseph’s is already launching an elite football academy for boys this September, but wanted to launch a girls academy alongside it.
We are fully committed to making St Joseph’s a beacon of footballing excellence in South Tyneside in years to come, for both boys and girls, and we can’t wait to get started.Peter Mitchell
Peter Mitchell, headteacher at St Joseph’s told the Gazette: “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 giving them the same sort of training you would see at professional football clubs.
“We are fully committed to making St Joseph’s a beacon of footballing excellence in South Tyneside in years to come, for both boys and girls, and we can’t wait to get started.”
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 nowhere like this in the North East or across the country where talented schoolgirls will be part of a group of lady footballers working on their skills alongside their studies.
“I’ve seen the results Improtech has had over the years with young lads signing for football clubs up and down the country and I would like to do the same for girls’ football development.
“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.”
Anyone interested in the new Girls’ Elite Football Academy call 07500 690 584 or email email@example.com.