AN international footballer is aiming to inspire the next generation with the launch of her own academy for girls.
Hartlepool-born Lindsay Johnson will launch the football academy at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, in Blakelock Road, this Friday.
The 31-year-old Everton and England centre half, who has been capped 43 times for her country, said she is “honoured” that staff at her former college have asked her to be part of the programme.
College bosses say the Lindsay Johnson Football Academy for Girls will provide a “comprehensive coaching and performance” programme for female footballers as part of their college timetable.
Members of the academy will receive coaching on a daily basis, conditioning and fitness work, nutritional advice and game related analysis as part of their weekly studies.
Lindsay, who will lead up to four training sessions over the next year, said: “I am honoured that the college has asked me to be a part of a great programme.
“Hartlepool is very close to my heart as it is my home town, and the Sixth Form is where I went to college.
“Football is now the biggest participated team sport for females in this country and post-16 is an area which should now have priority as many talented players drop out.
“For the college to be embarking on this programme is a massive boost to girls football in the town and in the North-East.”
The talented footballer narrowly missed out on the England squad for the World Cup in Germany this summer, which saw the Three Lions lose out to France in the quarter-finals.
It was the first time Lindsay had missed an England squad, aside from injury, since making her debut in 2004.
Academy players will also compete in the newly-established British Colleges Sports North East women’s football league every afternoon.
Dave Newton, the college’s lead football coach, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for the girls in post-16 football and will provide a direct pathway from the work we have been doing in primary and secondary schools.
“An integral part of the offer will be education as well as playing, and girls will get the opportunity to progress not just in terms of performance, but in leadership, coaching and refereeing.
“It is great to have Lindsay’s support.”
Ben Robinson, director of sport and enrichment said: “It is fantastic that someone of Lindsay’s standing in football is going to be involved in our programme, we have had a number of successes in a range of sports over the past few years.
“I am sure with the structure we have in place and with Lindsay’s support, girls’ football will flourish.”
The college already has an established male football programme, netball academy and the rugby academy.
The academy will be officially launched on Friday, August 12, from 9.45am.
A company specialising in football scholarships to the USA will also be at the launch.
For more information, call the college on (01429) 294444.