Uxbridge College Women’s Football Academy has been officially launched with the support of the Chelsea FC Foundation.
The academy was launched with special guest Pernille Harder, Captain of Chelsea FC Women's team and Denmark international, giving the group a special message via a Twitter video on @CFCFoundation encouraging young players to get involved.
The launch saw students spending an inspirational morning with some of Chelsea FC Foundation’s fantastic coaches, honing their skills at Hillingdon Athletics Centre’s 3G pitch. The pitch is used almost daily by Uxbridge College, in addition to its own professional-level sports hall and outdoor MUGA pitch.
Following the trials Chelsea FC Foundation Area Officer Marc Plumbley said: “Our relationship with Uxbridge College has gone from strength to strength over the past few years, and when discussions started regarding a female programme, it became clear that it was something both parties were very keen to run.
“The turnout at the trial today has been excellent, the players have shown some great skills and real enthusiasm and understanding of the game.”
Ellie Newman, Section Manager for Sport at Uxbridge College, who has led the development of the Women’s Football Academy with The Chelsea Foundation, said: “Having Chelsea FC Foundation behind our new Women’s Football Academy is an extremely welcome step forward - not just for Uxbridge College and for our young people, but for professional women’s football full stop.
“You only had to see the raw talent and enthusiasm brought out by the Chelsea coaches during the launch to see what massive potential the academy has got – we can’t wait to start recruiting the first students to join the academy starting in September 2022.”
Elita, a Level 2 Sport student at Uxbridge College, said: “I chose Uxbridge College because of the available facilities, the courses, the level of teaching on the course and the sports academies. I was inspired to get a place at Uxbridge College as you are always supported to progress due to the links they have with universities. I think the launch of Uxbridge College’s Women's Football Academy is a great start for football and women in the college and is very encouraging and exciting.”
In addition to the existing Uxbridge College Football Development Centre, which opened in 2000, the college also runs sporting academies in basketball, rugby, and netball. Students receive professional coaching and additional training in their chosen sport, compete in inter-college league matches, and have the chance to gain coaching qualifications, as well as completing one of the college’s full-time study programmes. Their full-time programme can be any subject area and does not have to be related to sport.
Dylan McTaggart, Principal of Uxbridge College, said: “Uxbridge College is extremely proud to be expanding our association with Chelsea FC Foundation, to ensure that students who would benefit from specialist women’s coaching and development have the best possible opportunities. Our sports academy programmes for full-time students are exemplary in matching high quality full-time learning, with professional level sports training, giving young people the best of all worlds in terms of opportunities.
Dr Darrell DeSouza, CEO and Principal of the merged college group HCUC, said: “I would echo everyone’s feeling that this is a brilliant footballing opportunity for Uxbridge College students, and to say how excited we are to be part of it. I would also like to add that, as with all teaching, learning and enrichment activities across the HCUC group, our sports academies are fully inclusive and offer the opportunity for each of our students to be involved on the basis of their individual identity and personal needs.”