Williams: Emerging Talent Centres will grow the women's game

20 Apr 2023

England Women's most-capped player sees how Premier League funding is helping develop girls' football in Bradford

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The city of Bradford will be one of 67 places throughout England where girls can develop their football in Emerging Talent Centres that are being funded by the Premier League.

As part of the £21m that the Premier League is investing into women’s and girls’ football over the next three years, half is going towards the grassroots game. Half of that, or £5.25m, will fund The FA’s new network of Girls’ Emerging Talent Centres (ETC).

The national network of 67 ETCs will be aimed at girls aged eight to 16 and will operate for at least 30 weeks per season.

The ETCs aim to increase the number of young female players engaged in FA programmes across the country from 1,722 to over 4,200 by the end of the 2023/24 season.

One location for the ETCs is the West Yorkshire city of Bradford, where England Women’s most-capped player, Fara Williams, went to see local girls who will benefit from the centre.

Positive progress

“Opportunities at the younger age groups have changed, developed, grown since I was a young player coming through as we see with the evidence today at the Emerging Talent Centres that have been heavily invested in by the Premier League,” said Williams. “So, [it’s] heading in the right direction, in my opinion, that the game has been trying to get for many years.

“It’s important to support grassroots and youth football, it’s the future. If we don’t invest here and give opportunities to young players to take their first steps into the game, where does it start?”

Kay Cossington, The FA’s Head of Women’s Technical, said one of the key aims is to provide greater access for more players, while diversifying the talent pool.

"We are extremely excited to be working alongside such a diverse group of clubs and organisations, which will help us identify players for the future, including future England Lionesses,” said Cossington.

Premier League Chief Football Officer Tony Scholes said the Premier League and clubs are committed to developing football at all levels, adding: “It is important that girls across the country have greater opportunities to progress in the game.

"We are pleased to have provided the funding, which will significantly enhance the pathways for young female footballers.”

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