In the run up to Diversity Day on Saturday, we'll be sharing the stories of different people whose lives have been impacted, in a variety of ways, by Burnley FC and Burnley FC in the Community.
With a mission to create an equal playing field for all, today’s story focuses on the many ways that local women and girls are given the chance to play the beautiful game through Burnley FC and Burnley FC in the Community.
Burnley FC is one club for all. This is Jade’s story…
A Claret through and through, Jade (17) had a love for football that went above and beyond cheering the team along at Turf Moor on Saturday.
Jade wanted to play. With a commitment to offering an equal platform for women to enjoy football, Jade has discovered multiple pathways to playing the beautiful game right here, at her beloved Burnley.
Initially taking up opportunities at Burnley FC in the Community’s Football Skill Centre and Futsal Hub, Jade’s weekly attendance at the sessions built her skills, her confidence and ultimately her drive to play the game at a higher level.
Encouraged by BFCitC coaches, in September 2017, Jade joined the ranks at the Girls’ Post-16 Academy - a programme, delivered in partnership with Nelson and Colne College, that offers talented young female players the chance to combine football with academic practice.
Alongside her studies, Jade side-stepped into the opening training session for the Burnley FC Women teams.
A key reserve player, Jade’s abilities as a natural full back did not go unnoticed. In recent weeks, not only has Jade joined training sessions for the first team but she’s gone on to play minutes at some of the season’s biggest games to date.
Through the club’s official charity, Jade is also currently undertaking her FA Level 1 in Coaching Football – yet another way Jade has snapped up the spectrum of opportunities open to her as a young player, with a passion for the game.
She said: "The Girls’ Post-16 Academy appealed to me as I can play football alongside my education and my involvement in Burnley FC Women has offered me the chance to play football at a good level all over the country!
"Alongside this, Burnley FC in the Community has also offered me extra sessions, aside from Burnley FC Women training, to work on my development.
“There is an equal playing field at Burnley FC. I feel I am massively supported to ensure that I achieve my potential.
"By playing for Burnley FC Women, I also feel a part of the club. We get to represent Burnley FC by wearing the badge week in and week out. What would I say to other females who are interested in playing football? Get involved with Burnley FC in the Community!”
Female Football Development Officer, Matt Bee, added: “It’s fantastic to see Jade’s progression on the female football pathway at Burnley FC in the Community.
"A regular attendee at our weekly football provision, she has been open-minded and taken onboard all our guidance and teaching to improve her game.”
During the 2017/18 season, 630 females, aged from just five, played football with Burnley FC. Accessing the game via the FA Wildcats programme, Premier League Girls and Burnley FC Women, Burnley FC in the Communtiy now also deliver sessions in secondary schools, colleges and hub satellites throughout Burnley and the surrounding areas.
The Burnley FC Women first team were promoted into the FA Women’s National League Division One North and currently sit at the top of the table.
The first team play their games at Padiham FC. It costs adult supporters £2 to watch the fixtures whilst children aged 16 and under can watch for free.
To find out more about female football at Burnley FC, visit www.burnleyfcwomen.com.