Durham Women and Bede Sixth Form are delighted to announce a continuation of their partnership by entering into a long-term agreement that will provide aspiring female footballers in Tees Valley a route to the professional game.
Durham, who play in the Barclays Women’s Championship, will work with Bede’s Institute of Sport and Education (ISE) to operate a Women’s Football Academy at the education provider, as the two organisations continue to build on an already successful link.
Players on the dual-career programme will benefit from expert coaching and lifestyle support, as well as being able to select from a range of A-Levels and BTECs to ensure they don’t have to compromise on their education.
Regular training sessions will take place on Bede’s FIFA-accredited artificial pitch with strength and conditioning sessions taking place in their state-of-the-art facilities.
The team will compete in the AOC Premiership against a range of high-quality opposition, after Bede Sixth Form’s women’s football team this year won the NECL Premiership.
And there is also the chance for players on the programme to represent professional outfit Durham - after the club were last week awarded one of a limited number of Category One Professional Game Academy’s licences, and the only one in the North East.
This further builds on Durham and Bede’s already successful partnership which has seen a number of players progress into the club’s set-up.
Faye Dale and Lily Patrick are both Bede alumni who featured for Durham’s academy side this season, while former student Eleanor Dale represented the Wildcats’ first team and was recently called up for the England under-23 squad.
And in an exciting additional element of the partnership, some of Durham Women’s successful pathway teams will also utilise Bede Sixth Form’s superb facilities for on and off-field training.
Commenting on the new partnership, Lee Sanders of Durham Women said: “We’re delighted to continue the club’s relationship with Bede Sixth Form.
“They have supported current and previous athletes with their dual-career aspirations while competing with ourselves in the WSL Academy League.
“Some of these players have gone on to study with ourselves at Durham University while gaining scholarships and have represented the first-team too.”
Ian Hewitt, Institute of Sport and Education Lead at Bede Sixth Form, added: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Durham Women FC.
“We have worked together to create a strong Academy at Bede Sixth Form College and Durham help us provide our students with a professional route into football which is completely unique within the Tees Valley area.
“The Women's Academy have won the NECL Premiership this year and we have made it to the NECL Cup final and we’re looking forward to next year when we will be stepping up into the AOC Premiership in order to really challenge the players and help them develop further."
If you want to find out more about Durham Women and Bede Sixth Form’s Women’s Football Academy, there are two upcoming events which will enable you to discover everything the partnership has to offer: