Since the successful launch of the Blackpool FC Community Trust female Emerging Talent Centre (ETC) in January 2023, our Female Football Development department have been working hard to expand our football programme for local females. One particular success story has been the Girls’ Future Lioness Development Centres, which run every Monday at Aspire Sports Hub.
The Emerging Talent Centre is funded by the Premier League for the next three years, and will see the numbers of players engaged in Football Association (FA) Pathway programmes more than double, helping to create greater access for all. Girls’ Emerging Talent Centres across the nation will increase and diversify the talent pool and gives more girls than ever the chance to take their first steps on the pathway towards playing professional football and following in the footsteps of the inspirational Lionesses.
Blackpool FC Community Trust are striving to engage with young females in Blackpool and the Fylde, using the brand of Blackpool FC to engage with more girls, and launched the Future Lioness Development Centres in March 2023. These sessions provide high-quality structured coaching sessions for girls aged u8-14, aiming to develop young players to move towards the standard required to become a part of the ETC.
In just two months, five girls have been invited into the ETC to play a fixture against local boys/mixed grassroots teams, highlighting the important part that the sessions play in providing a pathway from grassroots to the elite girls ETC programme. These girls include Darcy Bennett (u9s, Clifton Rangers), Marisah Cocker (u10s, Morecambe Ladies), Ivy Katzmann (u10s, Blackpool FC Girls and Ladies), Belle Heslop (u12s, Fleetwood Town) and Maycee Atkinson (u13s, Blackpool FC Girls and Ladies).
The Future Lioness Development Centres have engaged with 77 girls in the first 6-week block, with 78% of these coming from Blackpool and Fylde.
Andrew Aspinall, Female Football Manager at Blackpool FC Community Trust said:
“It is vital that we invest in local talent, and we want to make sure that any female growing up on the Fylde Coast can access a variety of cost effective and quality football opportunities. There are lots of people in this area doing excellent work in girls’ grassroots football, and it is great to see so many attendees in our sessions from a wide range of clubs who play in the Poulton District Primary League”.
The next 2-month block for the Future Lioness Development Centres is now able to be booked online, and run at the following times: u8-10s 5-6pm; u11-12s 6-7pm; u13-14s 7-8pm. If you would like to attend these sessions then book fast as they are expected to sell out: Book Blackpool FC Football Courses & Soccer School Sessions (officialsoccerschools.co.uk)
In addition to this, Blackpool FC Community Trust also run Girls’ Football Camps during the half term, Weetabix Wildcats sessions for girls aged 5-11, and free-of-charge Premier League Kicks girls’ football sessions.
“The Girls’ Football Camps have been particularly successful. They have been running for the last three half terms, and we have seen numbers increase each time. The most recent ones at Easter led to a record-high 35 girls attending in just one day!”
For more information on our female football opportunities please email firstname.lastname@example.org