Footballing Hartlepool girls are in a league of their own

LEAGUE WINNERS: The triumphant Hartlepool Sixth Form College Girls Football Academy team.
LEAGUE WINNERS: The triumphant Hartlepool Sixth Form College Girls Football Academy team.
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GIRL power has prevailed after a girls’ college football team were crowned as league winners.

Hartlepool Sixth Form College Girls’ Football Academy have been confirmed as the North East Performance League winners - the first time in the college’s history.

IN TRAINING: Members of the girls' football team from Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

IN TRAINING: Members of the girls' football team from Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

The talented lasses won the league with a total of 70 goals in 12 games – and only one loss throughout the entire season.

The league title comes only a year after the girls won the Under 19 National Futsal Championships in Birmingham, against some of the biggest football colleges in England.

This year the female footballers have beaten off stiff competition from colleges around the region including Gateshead, Tyne Met and Sunderland, to claim the coveted title.

College sports scientist Tom Hesleton, who is the girls’ coach, said it was a great achievement, which the team, the college and the town should be very proud of.

To be the first ever girls’ side at the college to win the competitive league is a feeling of honour and an achievement I know all the girls won’t forget any time soon.

Brogan McHugh, captain of the girls football team at Hartlepool Sixth Form College

He said: “It’s a great achievement for the girls, as they have come up against some strong sides in the league.

“In the closer games they really knuckled down and had the confidence to take the game to the opposition.

“Winning those games has ultimately decided where the league title went.

“One of the things that has really impressed me this season is how they are as a squad.

IN TRAINING: Members of the girls' football team from Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

IN TRAINING: Members of the girls' football team from Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

“They’re a really tight-knit bunch, and having that foundation to build on is where their success has come from.”

Captain Brogan McHugh, who is one of six Btec Sport students to be offered a place at Durham University, spoke of how the squad were feeling after topping the table.

She told the Mail: “It’s a feeling of great pride to be named league champions after the final closing weeks of games, as we experienced a hard run-in against Tyne Met and Gateshead.

“To be able to build on last season’s achievements of National Futsal Champions to then be the first-ever girls’ side at the college to win the competitive league is a feeling of honour and an achievement I know all the girls won’t forget any time soon.”

The Football Academy, which is endorsed by former England player and local sports star Lindsay Johnson, is run within the college timetable, allowing the students to develop their football ability as well as focusing on their academic subjects.

As part of its Student-Athlete programme the college also offers scholarships for players representing towns, counties and club academies to provide support for the students who have the extra demands placed on them.