TOURNAMENT winning female footballers of the future are set to benefit from an educational institution’s new £80,000 partnership with the Football Association.

The University of Essex, which has a campus in Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, has been officially made a FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre.

The complex will now play a huge part in increasing the number of women and girls in sport to help create a world-class talent pipeline from grassroots to elite level.

As part of the scheme, the university will receive a windfall of funding over the next two years and become a thriving a development hub for the East of England.

The announcement comes weeks after England Women’s side inspired a generation of girls to follow their sporting dreams by winning the 2022 European Championship.

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Maddie Biggs, who is a school of sport, rehabilitation, and exercise sciences student at University of Essex, and a centre forward for Ipswich Town, praised the move.

She said: “This is a golden opportunity for women’s football after the Euro final win.   

“If you think about the number of people at the stadium and watching the win at home on the TV, it just shows there is interest in the game.

“There are girls now who will be given the opportunity to play football at school and this is a chance to really grow the game.

“I’m proud my university and club are working to open doors and inspire the next generation of players.” 

The initiative will see university students gain hands-on football coaching experience, with work placements in coaching, sports science, and sports therapy. 

The move will also strengthen the university’s existing partnerships with clubs like Ipswich Town, Billericay Town, Hashtag United and AFC Sudbury.  

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Additionally, the educational complex will also be co-ordinating a new regional women’s goalkeeping centre to develop and nurture talent. 

Dr Dave Parry, director of sport at the university, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by the FA to be one of their Women’s High Performance Football Centres.

“There really couldn’t be a better time to partner with the FA on the next phase of growing the women’s game and developing coaches and support staff. 

“We are very excited about the opportunities this new partnership presents, and, who knows, perhaps we can help develop the next Sarina Wiegman.”