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Leeds United players Molly Cawthorn and Hannah Fox were at Farnley Academy on Wednesday 29th January as they attended the Leeds United Foundations Premier League 4 Sport Girls session at the school.
One of 12 satellite centres established in the programme, the centre at Farnley Academy on Chapel Lane in Leeds is jointly run by the school and representatives from Wortley Juniors FC.
Cawthorn and Fox are both graduates of the Leeds Girls Centre of Excellence, having been with Leeds since the age of 10 and are both keen to support the programme which targets girls aged 13+ and aims to provide a minimum of 180 female players of all abilities with both the opportunity to learn and develop their skills and with a recognised pathway into open age football.
Hannah commented: "It's a genuine pleasure for Molly and I to be here today to show our support for the Leeds United Foundations Premier League 4 Sport programme. Having been involved in girls football since an early age I've seen how difficult it can be to attract and keep players, particularly once they reach their early teens so it's great to see programme's like this one encouraging more girls to play the game."
After joining the girls on the pitch to go through their paces the Leeds pair then finished the session with a short question and answer segment in which they fielded questions about everything from what it feels like to play for Leeds to injuries.
John Forrest, Assistant Leader of P.E. at Farnley Academy heads up the sessions for the school. He said: "I've historically been frustrated by the lack of opportunities for our girls to get involved with football so it's great to see the Leeds United Foundation offering a programme like this that will allow those who want to play a chance to do so. Numbers for the sessions have been steadily growing and hopefully will continue to do so."
Year 7 students Olivia and Shannon were two of the girls taking part in the session and were quick to express how much they enjoy being involved.
Olivia said, "I love everything to do with football but haven't had much chance to play before so it's a lot of fun to get the chance. It's also great to meet Molly and Hannah from Leeds today, they're both amazing players."
Shannon added: "I love being a part of the sessions every week and am thinking about going down to Wortley to join the team there." Asked where she'd like to play if she did join the team at Wortley Shannon replied: "Striker, definitely as a striker. There's nothing better than when you score!"
Shannon's situation is exactly what the jointly run sessions at the Farnley Academy are all about with the hope being that those involved at the school will come along to the sessions, enjoy themselves and eventually decide they'd like to try playing for Wortley in one of their junior teams.
Robert Greaves, Ladies and Girls Secretary from Wortley Juniors commented: "Like most junior clubs, girl's football at Wortley is underrepresented. We are actively trying to redress the balance and we feel sure that our connection with Leeds United will have a significant impact on our efforts in this respect. Our ambition for next season is to start two new teams and with the support of the Farnley Academy and Leeds United I am sure we will reach this target."
The satellite centre at Farnley Academy is just one of 12 satellite centres in and around the Leeds area established under the Leeds United Foundation's Premier League 4 Sport Girls programme with the other centres based at Amaranth AFC, Boston Spa School, Chapeltown Youth Development Centre, Hunslet Club, Middleton Park FC, Rodillian Academy, Woodkirk Academy, Wetherby Athletic, Scotten Scorchers, Howden Clough and Ovenden WR Juniors.
For more information about the Leeds United Foundations Premier League 4 Sport programme or to see how you can get involved please visit www.leedsunitedfoundation.com or contact Leeds United Foundation Football Development officer Gary Waddington via email@example.com.
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