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Published 30 September 2022 4 min read
Playing Football

White and Asante inspire youngsters at Brentford FC’s Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub

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The Premier League

Lionesses inspire young footballers as Premier League commits £5.25m to increase girls' participation and pathways

Lionesses record goal-scorer Ellen White, the spearhead of the side that won the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 and former England defender Anita Asante, who won 71 caps during a 14-year international career, have met with young footballers at Brentford FC’s Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub.

The site is one of 70 FA Girls’ Emerging Talent Centres, supported by the Premier League, with the aim to provide better accessibility and more inclusivity for young female players and enhance player development.

Funding of £5.25 million from the Premier League across the next three years will see the number of female players aged 8-16 engaged in FA programmes across the country more than double from 1,722 to over 4,200 by the end of the 2023/24 season. 

This is part of the Premier League’s £21m investment in women’s and girl’s football over three years. Within this is £10.5m for the grassroots game and £3m for a new strategy for the FA Women’s National League.

The Premier League Trophy and Women’s EURO Trophy came together for the first time to mark the partnership, and a tournament featuring 12 Under-11s girls teams from the Premier League Primary Stars programme was run by Brentford FC on the day. 

The Lioness legends took part in a Q&A with the participants, sharing their advice on working hard to become the best version of yourself and emphasising the focus on enjoying playing football at an early age.
Ellen White scored 52 times for England and earned 113 caps
Ellen White scored 52 times for England and earned 113 caps
Recently retired Lioness hero Ellen White said: “We really hope the legacy of us winning the Euros is to empower people to live out their dreams and to want to play football and be active. Seeing the amount of girls playing and the smiles on their faces is just incredible. 

“The investment from the Premier League is significant and an amazing opportunity which provides access for more young girls to play, hopefully it means the women’s game will continue to grow and grow. This is about the next generation of girls having a pathway to turn professional and making their own history."

The first 60 licenses for Emerging Talent Centres, which will be operated for at least 30 weeks per season, have now been confirmed and the venues can be found on the FA website here

Licences were allocated on a regional basis with a mix of professional football clubs, club foundations and County FAs selected to deliver coaching programmes at the Centres to develop the talents of young players.

Kay Cossington, The FA’s Head of Women’s Technical added: "The women’s game has so much potential for growth and working with the Premier League and their experience of developing talent and delivering community programmes is hugely exciting.

“Seeing the two trophies together actually gave me spine tingles because this is such a powerful partnership and supports our endeavour to offer football to every young girl in every community. Through the FA Emerging Talent Centres, we will engage 2,500 more girls in the next three years.”

Funding for the Emerging Talent Centres is on top of investment in the Premier League Primary Stars programme, which sees the League fund 105 professional football clubs across the pyramid to deliver free school sports sessions to 5–11-year-olds. 

Nick Perchard, Head of Communities, Premier League, said: “The Premier League and our clubs are committed to developing football for everyone and it is important that opportunities for girls will increase, so we are delighted to support the FA’s Emerging Talent Centres.

“These ETCs across the nation will increase and diversify the talent pool and gives more girls than ever the chance to take their first steps on the pathway towards playing professional football and following in the footsteps of the inspirational Lionesses.”

More: Women and Girls' Football