A NEW football centre – an initiative to increase girls’ participation in the sport – is set to be launched once Barnsley College reopens.

Barnsley Sports Academy has formed a partnership with Barnsley Women’s FC, the Barnsley Schoolgirls Football Partnership and Barnsley and District Schools Football Association to launch the centre which will offer girls aged five to 11 a chance to play football for the first time.

The new agreement could open doors for female college students who are looking to get involved with football coaching or refereeing – Barnsley Women’s FC will be providing financial support for students to gain these qualifications.

Steve Gates, director of Barnsley Women’s FC, said: “This is a perfect opportunity for girls who wish to try football for the first time and those wanting to play regularly will be signposted into Barnsley Women’s FC.

“The sessions will take place weekly, when the college reopens, focusing on making friends, having fun and being active through football.

“The sessions will be led by female college students who are aspiring to become top FA coaches and football officials.

“College students will be given direct access to the Barnsley Women’s under 18 and reserve teams.”

Luke Forgione, sports performance and athlete development coordinator at the college, added: “These opportunities do not come along often, we are very fortunate that Steve has given us the opportunity to be an official partner and we look forward to a long and mutually-beneficial partnership.

“Our students now have their foot in the door with the Wildcats Centre, they just have to show they are capable of performing at the level required.”

The centre will remain closed until the college reopens because of Covid-19.

To register your interest or for general enquiries, contact Luke Forgione at l.forgione@barnsley.ac.uk or Steve Gates on 07481 511532.