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Female footballers net a new centre

Sunderland College has kick started a women’s football development centre in a bid to get more ladies in the area to enjoy the sport in association with the new Super League team Durham Women FC.

The college, which is set to expand its course offering following a £24million redevelopment project to build a state-of-the-art sports and arts facility that will open this autumn, has launched a programme to encourage ladies studying sports-based courses to join the college football team and get involved in the ‘beautiful game’.

James Hair, sports development officer, said he is keen to get as many female students to sign up to the women’s football development centre.  He said:  “Women’s football is a growing sport and we want to see more ladies enjoy both watching and playing.

“Residents across the north east are historically passionate about football and football fever has certainly taken hold recently.  We are very much looking forward to the launch of the Women’s Super League 2014 next month, with two regional teams represented.  We want our female students to really get involved in playing football, to help to make it a sport that is accessible to all.

“We have developed the centre so ladies can benefit from quality coaching by current Super League players playing for Durham Women FC, to get regular practise and play frequently against other colleges and teams.  The centre will offer the students physiotherapy services in addition to strengthening and conditioning sessions.  The programme will complement our courses in particular the BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport Performance and Excellence.”

He added:  “We have an excellent team, who play in the British College League and it would be great to continue to develop new and existing talent.  Our students will all soon be able to benefit from world class facilities – so we hope to be able to develop some world class female football players.”

The college has invested £11 million of its development fund to improve sports and art facilities at the Durham Road site.  Several buildings have been demolished to be replaced by the new Arts Academy and Sports Academy, including development centres in men and women’s football, rugby, coaching and swimming.

Kayleigh Wheeler, who has started to train at the centre said she is looking forward to the new facilities and to attend coaching sessions from professional players.  She said:  “I am looking forward to the extra training sessions and the opportunity to join the Sunderland College women’s football team.”

Female students looking to progress their football skills while studying on a full time sports qualification, with a professional training schedule can contact womensfootballdc@sunderlandcollege.ac.uk or call Sunderland College on 0191 511 6000 for further information.

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