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Women's Football News
Leeds United first team regulars Olivia Thackray and Fiona Berry were in Wetherby on Monday 17th March as the pair dropped in for a training session with the Wetherby Athletic Girls Under-14s and Under-16s sides.
Organised through the Leeds United Foundation's Premier League 4 Sport Girls programme, Wetherby is one of twelve satellite centres established under the programme with the specific aim of providing 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.
Thackray and Berry are both graduates of the Leeds United Girls Centre of Excellence having joined the system at the age of ten before eventually going on to represent Leeds United Ladies in this season's FA Women's Premier League North.
Speaking at the session, former England Under-19 International Olivia Thackray, 24, said: "It's a genuine pleasure to be here today to show our support for both Wetherby and the Premier League 4 Sport Girls programme in general. Having come through the youth system to graduate into open age football myself I know just how difficult it can be to provide young girls with the opportunity to play football so it's great to see just how hard everybody here at Wetherby is working to provide these girls with just that opportunity."
After helping out with advice during the skills segments of the session Thackray and Berry finished their visit with a short question and answer session and couldn't hide their excitement when questions turned to Leeds United's upcoming match against Blackburn Rovers at Elland Road on Sunday 13th April.
As Fiona Berry, 20, who counts Liverpool, Preston and Elland Road opponents Blackburn amongst her former clubs commented: "The entire squad is extremely excited to have the opportunity to play at Elland Road on Sunday 13th April. As a kid growing up in Leeds you dream of having an opportunity to play at Elland Road so we're determined to make the most of it and not only make it a day to remember for ourselves but also a great showpiece occasion for women's football in general."
Wetherby Athletic Girls Under-14 coach Peter Hall was delighted with the impact the pair's visit had on his players. He said: "I can't thank Olivia and Fiona enough for coming down to spend some time with us today. Coming from the area and having gone through the youth systems to make it all the way to Leeds United Ladies they're both a great example of just what can be achieved with plenty of hard work and commitment. Meeting them today has really been a great inspiration for our players."
The satellite centre at Wetherby 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, Farnley Academy, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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