International boss Jayne Ludlow is confident that a new partnership with Coleg y Cymoedd will pay dividends for the future of the womenâ€™s football.
The Football Association of Wales has teamed up with the Ystrad Mynach campus of Coleg y Cymoedd to launch an elite female football academy. With the first intake in place for this September at Coleg y Cymoedd, the girls will be able to combine daily coaching sessions with full time study.
The project was a key aim for Jayne Ludlow as Head of the Football Academy of Wales, who hopes the academy will provide the next generation of Wales internationals. The initiative gives players a taste of what it takes to make it as a club professional as well as furthering their education.
Jayne Ludlow, former Arsenal ladies Captain said: â€œI promised myself to set up female football environments that can allow our younger players to excel and to get to the level that I think they can get to. This female football academy based at Coleg y Cymoedd whereby our elite group of 16-18-year-old players will be based, studying full-time and training full-time is ideal for helping them reach their potential.
They will be coached by staff currently in our pathway and the plan behind it is to create an elite environment there that will give all our younger players the impetus to compete at the top level in the future. Itâ€™s a long-term thought process but the sooner we get that up and running the better for all the girls who are of that age.â€
A Valleys location was the preferred choice for the elite academy due to how popular the sport is in the surrounding areas. The Football Academy of Wales hopes the new programme will provide a successful pathway for female players to develop on and off the field in a competitive environment.
Jonathan Morgan, Faculty Director of Sport at Coleg y Cymoedd: The Collegeâ€™s excellent sporting facilities made the partnership with the Football Association of Wales an exciting prospect.
â€œFrom the collegeâ€™s point of view itâ€™s a link that weâ€™ve been looking to make. There are numerous examples of how this has worked across the country, Jayneâ€™s mentioned how well itâ€™s worked with Arsenal Ladies whoâ€™ve been running this model for a number of years.
Weâ€™re very excited. It ties in perfectly with us, as a college and we want to create links with employers, who can see thereâ€™s a good player pathway into the professional game. Itâ€™s the perfect opportunity.â€
For more information on joining the Elite Football Academy visit: www.cymoedd.ac.uk/courses/subject-areas/sport.aspx
Interested in becoming a host family for players in the Academy? Visit www.cymoedd.ac.uk/international/host-families.aspx?lang=en
Rhondda Cynon Taff