Here Come The Girls! New football academies launch in Peterlee and Hebburn

by Graeme Anderson

THE first elite football academies for school girls in the country are being launched in County

Durham and South Tyneside.

St Bede’s Comprehensive school in Peterlee and St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in

Hebburn are set to open their doors in September to the most promising young female

players in the region, from any school.

Launch of Academy, at St Bedes RC School.

And the hope is they will deliver professional footballers of the future, with thriving senior

clubs on the doorstep in Durham, Sunderland and Newcastle ready to reap the benefits.

Overseeing the running and development of the two Improtech Soccer academies will be

Carlton Fairweather, the former manager of FA Women’s Super League side, Sunderland.

And Fairweather says he couldn’t be more excited about a project which might make the

North East a hotbed of ladies’ football in years to come.

Carlton Fairweather talks to Sky Sports News

He said: “There’s a reason why professional footballers train during the day – it’s the most

receptive time for you to work on your game.

“You’re at your sharpest mentally and physically at that time of the day and for a young

player to have the chance to work on their game during school hours is a massive bonus in

terms of their development.

“There’s nowhere like this in the North East or across the country where talented young girls

will be part of yearly groups of ladies footballers working on their skills alongside their


The Academies will be run by Improtech Soccer, the biggest provider of football in

education in the North of England, with successful centres on Tyneside, Wearside and


Carlton said: “I’ve seen the results Improtech has had over the years with young lads signing

for football clubs up and down the country and I would like to do the same for girls’ football


“The Academies at St Bede’s and St Joseph’s will hopefully give us the chance to get

promising young groups of girl footballers together and make sure their football talent is

developed to its fullest potential.”

At today’s official Football Academy  launch at St Bede’s, headteacher Fran Craik said: “We

are thrilled to be able to offer girls the same service as we are providing for the boys, with

some of the most highly-qualified football coaches around giving them the same sort of

training you would see at professional football clubs.

“We are fully committed to making St Bede’s a beacon of footballing excellence in East

Durham and can’t wait to get started.

”It’s important to stress that the Academy is open to non-Catholics too – the criteria for being part of the Academy will come down to footballing ability.”

Head of St Bede’s Fran Craik

Peter Mitchell, head of St Joseph’s, said: “This will be a great opportunity for talented young

female players in South Tyneside.

“We want to recruit the best young players out there and ensure that their talent is developed

and nurtured.

“Both schools will also be ensuring that as well as maximising their chances of one day

becoming professional footballers, they will also receive a first-rate education.”

Simon Robson, director of operations at Improtech Soccer, said: “We’re delighted that the

schools have taken a lead in offering an elite Football Academy for girls.

“There’s so much talent in the area and the passion and enthusiasm for football among

young girls is great to see.

“These academies will capitalise on that and by bringing girls together in talented groups,

we’ll be able to maximise their improvement.”

Anyone interested in taking part in recruitment sessions for the new

Academies can contact the two schools directly or Improtech Soccer’s Director of Football, Steve Golightly on or ring 07500 690 584.