Go-Ahead programme football opportunity for young girls

Initiative delivered by the Leeds United Foundation.

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The Leeds United Foundation are currently delivering the Go-Ahead programme, introduced to engage with girls in secondary schools at risk of giving up on sport.

The Premier League funded initiative is also being used to bridge the gap in the female pathway for football, encouraging young girls from primary school provisions on to our female education programmes that combines football development with education.

The programme has offered secondary schools in the Leeds and surrounding areas free access to a football session for one hour per week with coaches from the club’s charity, along with tournaments against the other participating schools and exclusive workshops delivered at Elland Road on relatable and informative topics such as careers and opportunities, confidence, and nutrition.

Throughout the two years the programme has been running, the charity has engaged with over 1,000 girls from 20 different secondary schools. Initially, the programme aimed to target years 10 and 11, however, this was opened to all year groups to encourage all young females to participate, and this saw a huge influx in girls attending sessions as a result.

Go-Ahead has also hosted several tournaments, offering a competitive element to participants with opportunities to showcase talent and skills. The tournaments also offered a fantastic opportunity for talent identification, and consequently numerous girls have been invited to take up places in our Development Centres and Shadow Squad.

The female pathway within the Leeds United Foundation will give girls the chance to then progress all the way through to our Girls Academy and this demonstrates just how vital a part schools can play in developing our pathway and spotting talent.

Aside from offering more opportunities for young girls to participate in football sessions, the Foundation has also addressed the issue around the limited number of female coaches available, hosting coaching specific workshops delivered by inspiring female coaches in the local community.

Through these workshops, the coaches have worked hard to instil confidence and encourage people to take the next step, whether that is in school or volunteering at local grassroots clubs.

The Go-Ahead project has enabled the club and Foundation to build and form positive relationships with many secondary schools and successfully strengthen ours and their engagement of girls in sport, particularly football, which has been of huge benefit for both the schools and the Women and Girls department, with some fantastic success stories created along the way.

For further information about the Go-Ahead programme, or to learn more about the Female Pathway within the Leeds United Foundation, please contact [email protected].

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