Blues awarded prestigious role in development of promising players at national level
Town have beaten off very strong competition from a number of clubs to partner the Football Association and host the FA Women’s U21 East Region Academy.
The agreement will see the Club’s Academy manager, Lee O’Neill, oversee an elite training and development programme at Playford Road for the best girls in the region aged 16-21, which will also include a focus on their education
The Eastern region includes Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire Northamptonshire and Huntingdon.
“Ipswich Town will provide the players with a professional and elite environment to learn,” said the FA’s Head of Player Development and Talent (Women), Kay Cossington.
“They have a fantastic infrastructure for supporting and developing talented footballers and in recent seasons have supported our most talented female youth internationals from the region in their own boys Academy.
“Over many years we have seen a number of female youth internationals from within the region stop playing football post 16 due to lack of opportunity at the highest level.
“We hope that this programme aligned with our own national youth programmes will provide an excellent platform for players to continue their development and fulfil their ambition. We look forward to this new and exciting partnership with Ipswich.”
Lee O’Neill added: “Bryan Klug [head of coaching and player development] and I are delighted to be working with the FA, in such an exciting opportunity for elite young footballers in the east of England.
“Being involved in such a big project like this will only help and develop the opportunities and pathways for talented female footballers.
“The Academy has a number of excellent coaches that can help nature talented young footballers. We also have the support system with specialists for players in sports science, performance analysis, strength and conditioning, psychology and recruitment.
“We will be working closely with players and schools of those players to deliver an education and high performance training model - which is very similar to the boys game - allowing the girls to experience training and education to the highest levels.
“Furthermore, allowing players access to this programme and facility will be a blueprint model for the girls game (16-21) across the country.”