Today marks the start of International Women’s Week!
As part of the campaign, London FA will be sharing stories, programmes and organisations that are supporting women and girls’ grassroots football across London.
To start, we would like to showcase our Regional Talent Centres and our elite female clubs, as we look to support the next generation of Lionesses from our London grassroots community!
A Regional Talent Centre (RTCs) is an enhanced coaching centre for U10, U12, U14 and U16 age groups primarily, and allows players identified as having elite potential the opportunity to access elite levels of coaching and support.
They are managed by local organisations who facilitate the administration and running of the RTC. A minimum of three hours’ training are provided per week to each age group, and all players take part in a fixture programme.
The FA Women’s High Performance Centre is a coach development programme for male and female coaches working in Women & Girls’ Football. The aim of the centre is to have ‘exceptional coaches that are representative of society’, so we support coaches that want to progress in the game and/or demonstrate a real talent. The way we offer coach development support varies across London, Middlesex, Surrey and Hertfordshire; from workshops (online or face to face) to 1-2-1 support.
In January, we had over 250 coaches involved in our events on ‘Effective Coaching in Women & Girls’ Football’. Since then, we’ve had several smaller groups of coaches receive support around analysing vs. monitoring a football match in relation to the Continental Cup Final. And for IWD, we have an event on 11 March to do with ‘Managing the Menstrual Cycle’. To get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit @StMarysWhpfc on Twitter.
One of our London FA elite female clubs, Charlton Athletic Women, who compete in the FA Women’s Championship and have their own RTC, are now looking forward to growing the club and develop then next generations of stars.
Charlton Athletic Women were previously a separate organisation from the men’s team for more than a decade and the takeover from new owners Stephen King and Thomas Sandgaard will look to bring the two clubs together under the same ownership for the first time since 2007.
Charlton Athletic Women have a great history and became one of the leading teams in domestic women’s football during the early 2000s winning both the FA Cup and the League Cup.
New owner Sandgaard said: “I am looking forward to being able to complete the takeover of Charlton Athletic Women.
“One of the first things I did when I was in London after the takeover was go and watch Charlton Athletic Women play and I knew then that I wanted to bring the two clubs back together.
"Women’s football is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and you can see that a lot of the big clubs are investing in their women’s team. My long-term aim for Charlton is to reach the highest levels with both the men’s team and the women’s team, so I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Charlton Women controversially disbanded in 2007 and were kept afloat initially by Charlton Athletic Community Trust and then by Charlton fan and local businessman Stephen King.
King said: “I am delighted to be able to direct Charlton Athletic Women into such safe hands. The last ten years has been an exciting yet challenging time in charge with some great highs, including the promotion in 2018 and turning semi-professional. There have been very difficult periods, none more challenging than the current pandemic. Women’s football is growing at pace, and so are the demands on those running these clubs. I am pleased and relieved that Charlton Athletic Women have been able to come through it, and I am convinced the club now has a very positive future to look forward to under the stewardship of Mr Sandgaard.”
Charlton Athletic WFC Head Coach, Riteesh Mishra, has also been selected as one of 14 coaches for the FA’s Coaching Excellence Initiative, an 18-month programme created to develop and connect high performance coaches working in the elite women’s game. The programme will provide coaches with bespoke, high quality coach development experience with one-to-one support from mentors and individual and collective learning workshops. You can read more about the programme here.
Find out more about the FA’s Women and Girls elite talent pathway here
You can find out more on Charlton Women on their website and you can also sign up to St Mary’s next webinar, Managing the Menstrual Cycle, here.