ETC Success - From Blackpool to Manchester City

Esme Seddon is an Under 13s goalkeeper who has been attending Blackpool FC Community Trust’s Girls’ Emerging Talent Centre (ETC) supported by Liontrust since January 2023. She attended our Blackpool ETC trials in September 2022 and showed the potential and ability to be invited into the free 30-week programme which aims to identify girls for the England Lioness player pathway. She also plays grassroots football for Blackpool FC Girls and Ladies in the Under 13s, where she has had lots of success. Esme has continued to show growth in her game and has subsequently been offered a place in the Man City u14s Pro Game Academy squad for the 2023/24 season.


Esme has worked extremely hard since the ETC programme launched, taking part in our goalkeeper-specific training sessions as well as the outfield sessions alongside the Under 13/14s group. Her development has exceeded our expectations, and her hard work and determination this season has been great to see. Most importantly, Esme is a great young woman, with a positive personality, and is a fantastic teammate to all the girls in the group. 


Since being offered a place in the ETC in September 2022, our ETC staff have strived to create as many opportunities for our players as possible. Esme has played in various organised fixtures including against Westmorland County FA girls’ teams, local boys’ futsal teams, Burnley ETC, Preston North End ETC and Manchester City Regional Talent Centre (RTC). These varied games ensure that all of our players have a wide range of challenges and compete against some of the most talented young females in the country. Our philosophy is always to prioritise the development of each player over results. Esme has thrived in this environment. 


Andy Aspinall, ETC Centre Manager and Technical Lead said,  

“Esme showed some good ability and huge amounts of potential in her initial trial for the ETC. Her drive and determination have been exceptional, she always has a smile on her face, and her confidence and communication skills have really improved. It is a shame that we are losing her, but she has an amazing opportunity to train several times a week with a Professional Game Academy programme at Manchester City, and we are delighted to have played a part in her development. She has a great future ahead of her.”  


Esme Seddon, Under 13s ETC Goalkeeper, said,  

“I’ve really loved my time at Blackpool FC Community Trust’s ETC. My coaches, Ian and Paul always manage to make the training sessions challenging yet fun and put a smile on my face and I can never thank them enough. The dedication, time and effort from my goalkeeper coaches, Dave and Erin have been amazing as well. They come up with new topics every session and I’ve progressed so much. Since joining, I’ve made some best friends that have also pushed me to become the best version of myself as a footballer. All the girls are so nice and encouraging. Andy has made this whole experience possible, and I am so incredibly grateful, whether it’s having a cracking attempt in the net or trying to join in with the mini-matches, he will constantly find a way to get involved and support us. I cannot recommend the ETC enough for the girls who want to become better footballers and aspire to be the best.” 


Phil Seddon, Esme’s parent said, 

“Since the age of 7, Esme has had a love for football but over the last 12 months it has really become a passion and something which she has started to take more and more seriously. The ETC has provided the environment for her passion to grow to the next level allowing her to become more motivated, work harder, become more focused, and push on in her hopes of becoming a professional footballer. She wakes up early in the morning to watch football videos on YouTube, continuously has a ball at her feet at home, and has really started to dedicate herself to football and develop her skills. She currently trains up to 5 times a week, including representing her local district team. Since joining the Emerging Talent Centre, Esme has come on in leaps and bounds, especially with the specific skills needed for the goalkeeper position. She is now much more confident and has also made some life-long friends through the programme. We want to thank all of the staff for the efforts they have put in.”