The Football Association (FA) have announced that Plymouth Marjon University will become the ninth Women’s High Performance Football Centre. The FA’s Women’s High Performance Football Centre initiative was launched in 2017 in partnership with British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) with eight original centres across the country.
The FA’s ambition for the Women’s High Performance Football Centres is to increase the number of qualified coaches and improve the quality of coaching, which are both central to the growth of the women’s game. Plymouth Marjon will take on this responsibility within the South West, while at the same time providing talented players with an environment to drive their academic and football ambitions.
The Women’s High Performance Football Centre will provide a high-quality educational and community-based setting to recruit, develop and deploy coaches for the women’s and girls’ game in the South West. Establishing close links with the Devon FA and Cornwall FA Advanced Coaching Centres and Plymouth Argyle Ladies FC will provide talented players with a pathway to elite levels, supported by expert coaching, sports science and medicine.
Plymouth Marjon University provides a flexible academic offer to assist players who wish to study. The University offers a range of degrees including BA (Hons) Football Development and Coaching, BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science, BA (Hons) Sport Coaching, BSc (Hons) Sport Therapy, BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning, BA (Hons) Sport Development and BA (Hons) Sport, Coaching and Physical Education. In addition scholarship opportunities are available.
The launch of the Women’s High Performance Football Centre will also offer students the experience of working with elite level footballers, enabling them to develop practical skills to take into their careers.
The announcement of the new FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre comes at an exciting time for football at Plymouth Marjon University, who recently announced a new partnership which will see Plymouth Argyle Ladies FC using the University’s state-of-the-art sports facilities as their home for training. These developments firmly place Marjon as the regional hub for women’s football and build on the University’s well-established football partnerships with Devon FA, Cornwall FA, Argyle Community Trust and Plymouth Marjon FC.
The FA’s Head of Women’s Coach Development, Audrey Cooper, said: “It’s fantastic to have Plymouth Marjon University join our growing network of Women’s High Performance Football Centres. They are perfectly situated and set up to drive the development of aspiring coaches in the South West, all of whom will play a crucial role in providing excellent football experiences for women and girls in the region.”
Marjon Vice-Chancellor Professor Rob Warner said: “We are extremely proud to be chosen by the FA as their partner to develop ambitious new opportunities for players and coaches across the South West. This is such an exciting time for women’s football in England. We hope Marjon students will become part of the England squad that wins the next Women’s World Cup.”
Coaching and sport science lecturer Chris Smietanka, who has led this project for Marjon, said: “The new FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre will bring to life all the previous good work that has been happening at Marjon throughout the last few years. There will now be a coach development pathway for students to access that will enable the volunteer workforce to engage with the community and develop key employability skills, whilst enhancing their own student experience from grassroots to high performance, with a structured route to success”.