Trials open for football academy for girls

The Chelsea Foundation and Blenheim High School are excited to announce a new girls-only football academy that will launch in the new academic year.

Beginning in September 2018, the new Sixth Form Football Academy in Epsom will allow girls aged 16 to 18 to benefit from the unique opportunity of having an academic-led post-16 education and being able to gain A-level qualifications alongside a full programme of professional football coaching.

With women’s football one of the fastest growing participation sports in England, the Academy will give young women the opportunity to pursue their footballing dreams while obtaining a wider understanding of sport and exercise science, and the great career opportunities the industry offers.

The new programme underlines Chelsea’s commitment to women’s and girls’ football and rewards the outstanding success of Blenheim’s girls’ football teams, who have won numerous awards and accolades over the past few years including winning of the Under-16 Surrey Cup. A team from the school also represented Chelsea at the Premier League Schools Cup.

Foundation area development manager Keith Harmes said: ‘I am delighted that we have been able to collaborate with Blenheim High School to provide such a high-quality education with the opportunity to develop as footballers, under the guidance and coaching of Chelsea FC Foundation coaches.

‘From early discussions it was clear Chelsea FC Foundation and Blenheim High School were determined to create a unique programme, and the professionalism and enthusiasm from all involved means that the girls attending the course will benefit greatly.

‘Blenheim High School is known for producing excellent female football players and teams, and we look forward to continuing and developing this still further.’

A raft of further opportunities also present themselves to the girls who are selected, with the Chelsea Foundation able to offer potential employment opportunities, direct links with St Mary’s University in Twickenham, and a variety of player pathways.

Trials are scheduled to be held on Thursday 15 March, from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, at our Cobham training ground and are open to girls aged 15 to 16 currently studying in Year 11. 

An Open Event will be held on Monday 26 February at Blenheim High School to provide potential students an opportunity to meet coaching staff and hear about the opportunities that such a unique path can offer.

Tony Bodell, head teacher at Blenheim High School said: ‘These are exciting times at Blenheim. Girls’ football at Blenheim has become increasingly popular and successful in recent years partly due to the expertise of the school’s PE department and partly due to increased exposure of women’s football through the media.

‘The creation of this academy demonstrates not only Blenheim’s commitment to its students but also our aim to engage and serve the local and wider community.

‘Chelsea FC Foundation and Blenheim High School both fundamentally believe in a growth mind-set, with the principle of constant improvement informing the work we do. It is this common philosophy that will help create a unique girls’ football academy that delivers excellent football development opportunities coupled with a high-quality post–16 education.’