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New era for Middlesbrough
 Women's Football News 23 May 2012
 
Middlesbrough Ladies FC have pulled off a major coup with the news that highly regarded coach Gemma Grainger will take over as their new manager next season. 
 
Grainger replaces long serving Marrie Wieczorek in the hot seat and has set her sights on promotion to the Northern Division of the Premier League at the first attempt. "My aim is to build a competitive squad that is capable of challenging for promotion next season," says Grainger, who at 29 is the youngest female holder of the UEFA 'A' Coaching Licence in England.
 
Grainger has an impressive CV for somebody so young. She is the Technical Director of the local Girls' Centre of Excellence ran by Teesside University which caters for the most talented female girls in the region aged 7-17. Six seasons spent at Leeds United Ladies managing both the first team and reserves has left Grainger with no doubts as to what it takes to succeed in the ladies game.
 
"In order for Middlesbrough to develop, it is important that we retain the best young players from Teesside," she said. "At the moment, our most talented players must travel out of the area if they want to play at the top level; we have a real talent drain with players travelling to the likes of Leeds and Sunderland to play in the Premier League. If we can keep hold of these hungry young players, they will be given opportunities with Middlesbrough next year and hopefully help us to progress to the next level."
 
Linking with Teesside University's Centre of Excellence will help with this, says Grainger: "We want to progress quickly and our aim is to play in the National Premier League; this would then be a great incentive to the young players in the Centre who will be able to see a real pathway in to the first team. We currently have a number of junior England International players at the Centre of Excellence and we want to be in a position where we can offer them top level football with their local team."
 
This is a vision shared by Wieczorek, who will remain at the club in her new role of Honorary Life President. "Gemma and I are both passionate about promoting women's and girls' football and feel it is important that there is a high level team in the area for local players," she said. "We want the girls at the Centre of Excellence to aspire to play for Middlesbrough and we believe that we have developed the right structure to help the club to progress and make this a reality for them."
 
Of her role, Wieczorek added: "I am finally taking a step back from running the team after being involved for 36 years and believe that Gemma is ideal to drive this project forward. She is local and just as passionate as I am about both the football club and the area. I am looking forward to watching the team play next season as they push for promotion - and believe they could achieve it at the first attempt. It's an exciting project and I wish Gemma and the team every success."
 
The team is looking for new players in all positions and will be holding trials on Saturday 16th, Monday 18th and Thursday 21st June. If you would like more information about the trials or an application form, please contact Club Secretary Paul Kreczak at p.kreczak@tees.ac.uk or on (07500) 120398.

 
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