Opportunities through the Leeds United Female Pathway

Opportunities through the Leeds United Female Pathway

Celebrating International Women's Day.

Leeds United are celebrating International Women’s Day today and we would like to share with supporters all of the different ways young females can get involved in the game we all love.

The Leeds United Foundation Female Youth Pathway engages with over 800 girls every week across a range of programmes, ensuring that all girls of any ability can access one of the provisions available.

The pathway begins with the after-school programme, which offers youngsters the chance to start their footballing journey, helping with fundamental skills such as teamwork and ensuring they are having fun. This programme is currently delivered in 32 primary and secondary schools across the city, increasing opportunities to not only train and play competitive fixtures but to also take part in interactive and educational workshops around confidence building, employability, and other routes available in football. The Go-Ahead initiative delivered at secondary schools also delves into coaching, giving students access to support around how to become a coach through our female role models within the organisation.

Following on from the after-school provision, there are a number of different ways to then progress through the Female Youth Pathway, please see below:

Girls Development Centres

Open to any girl, of any ability, that would like to dedicate more time to their football training. The aim is to develop players individual skills, with half-term block booking located in seven different areas across Leeds and further afield, to try and reduce travel time and make the sessions as accessible as possible. There are also competitive internal fixtures hosted during the holidays, with the opportunity to put learnt skills into practice.

Girls Shadow Squad and Emerging Talent Centre

These two programmes are accessed by invite only, with weekly training sessions delivered for girls who show elite potential. The Girls Shadow Squad currently hosts 190 players from U7s through to U16s, whilst the Emerging Talent Centre currently has 75 players across U10s, U11s and U12s age groups. The sessions are more tactical and technical and include access to a physiotherapist and strength and conditioning support. The sessions are based at West Riding County Fa, and also include goalkeeper specific training, with youngsters referred from the Girls Development Centres and able to progress onto the Girls Academy.

Girls Academy

Currently operating two age groups, U14s and U16s, this is a fixture-based programme, with players training three times a week with one of those based at Leeds Beckett University and focused on strength and conditioning. The aim is to help players progress into open age football and provide the opportunity to work towards representing the Leeds United Women’s team. Players take part in fixtures against both boys and girls, providing a more varied challenge for them. The Girls Academy can be accessed through the other Female Youth Pathway programmes and Talent ID.

Female Education Programme

The final initiative is aimed at 16–18-year-olds, offering a full-time education programme alongside football provision, based at Leeds City College. Students train twice a week and play a competitive match once a week as part of a college league. The dual approach to education and training ensures players are leaving with a qualification of their choice whilst they’ve also been able to develop their football with the support of the Foundation. There is also a strong link to Leeds Beckett University, supporting players who wish to progress into further education.

The club’s official charity also prides itself on supporting female talent not only on the football field but in the workforce, with the Women and Girls Department currently being operated by three full time female staff members, two of which progressed through the Leeds United Girls Academy, going on to become full-time employees, showing the exit routes for players is not only on the field.

For any more information on any of the female pathway initiatives, including dates, timings and locations, and how to access them please contact womenandgirls@leedsunited.com.

Leeds United are also running a 25% offer on all women's ranges, to help celebrate International Women's Day. The offer is available online and in all of our official Leeds United retail outlets until midnight.