Girls PDC

FA Girls England Talent Pathway Upate

An update on the changes to the FA Girls Talent Pathway ahead of the 2016-17 season.

Further to the statement released in February 2015, the following information provides detail on the newly structured FA Girls’ England Talent Pathway, and the application process for the FA Girls’ Regional Talent Clubs for the 2016-2017 season and beyond.   

The Girls’ England Talent Pathway has been put in place to support the identification and development of those with elite potential, and to ensure that appropriate playing opportunities are in place to enable players to fulfil their developmental needs.  The growth of the game over the past 10 years for girls and women has been incredible, both within the domestic and international remit. Due to the ever changing landscape of the game  we have reviewed our current infrastructure ensuring that our pathway meets the demands of producing talented players to compete on an international stage.   

The 2016 - 2017 FA Girls’ England Talent Pathway will include Advanced Coaching Centres (ACC), Regional Talent Clubs (RTC), Regional Excellence Camps (REC) and a National Performance Camp (NPC) which is illustrated in the attached diagram. 

Advanced Coaching Centres (ACC)

The ACCs are County led programmes  and provide additional training opportunities for girls playing in grassroots football.  The application process and supporting information for ACCs will be released in April 2016, with a licence start date of August 2016 and can only be applied for by the County FA.

The ACCs are unique to the East and South West pathways only, however these may be applied for by County FAs in more rural or remote areas who can evidence the demand for them.  Due to the geographical challenges and limited playing opportunities in the East and South West, the pathways are region specific and have a player-focused approach to elite female youth football, ensuring that it is accessible as well as supportive and educational.  This pathway has ensured that the players’ development, health and wellbeing is at the forefront of the programme.  

Regional Talent Clubs (RTC)

A new Regional Talent Club (RTC) programme will be launched which will include  greater support to clubs who are working with our most talented players. We will welcome all clubs to apply through an open application process to gain entry into the programme, which will replace the current Centres of Excellence.  The FA Girls’ Centre of Excellence programme has shown that clubs require opportunity to grow and develop at different rates according to their maturity and growth, as well as the grassroots infrastructure beneath them.  The elements of funding and support are required to be different and there is a need to benchmark and level the delivery of the programme across a tiered concept as opposed to a one size fits all model.

The RTCs will allow clubs to be more realistic to their current state and vision by way of a 3 ‘Tier’ process and licence application.  The programme will engage many more clubs who are now in a position to adhere to licence requirements, due to development over a number of years. Clubs can apply for 1 of 3 Tiers, with an additional level being awarded to clubs with exceptional and consistent delivery.  There will be a maximum of 35 licences granted across the 3 tiers and licences will be awarded for a maximum of 3 years subject to Sport England and FA funding, and meeting the licence criteria.

Tier One Plus                    Clubs cannot apply for this level. These will be granted by The FA to those clubs consistently delivering exceptionally over a 2 year period starting from the 2016 – 2017 season.  This includes meeting all licence criteria  and delivery plans.

Tier One                              Clubs can apply to be a Tier 1 club, in which the specific tier criteria would need to be met. FA Grant available is £60k, matched funding required is a minimum of £24k.

Tier Two                             Clubs can apply to be a Tier 2 club, in which the specific tier criteria would need to be met.  FA Grant available is £40k, matched funding required is a minimum of £12k.

Tier Three                          Clubs can apply to be a Tier 3 club, in which the specific tier criteria would need to be met.  FA Grant available is £30k, matched funding required is a minimum of £6k.

Please find attached the draft rules and regulations for each of the tiers to support your decision on applying for a licence. The rules in red highlight where there is variation of criteria across the three tiers.  As with every season, we are awaiting official approval from the required FA Committees before they become sanctioned regulations in the FA Handbook, but it is accepted you require some guidelines now to help to complete your application.  Please ensure that you thoroughly read through these and you can meet all the tier requirements that you are applying for before requesting an Application Folder.

Regional Talent Club Age Bands

For the 2016/17 season Regional Talent Club age groups will run by academic year (from September – August), as a change to calendar year (from January – December) in our current Girls’ England Talent Pathway.

The rationale behind this change is to allow the U12 and U10 age groups in The FA Girls’ Regional Talent Clubs to play their games programme in local Charter Standard boys leagues. We strongly believe this opportunity for our most talented young players to play regularly against boys teams will have significant benefits to their technical and physical development, and will provide a stronger foundation for them to become elite players who can compete on an international stage in the coming years. 

Charter Standard boys leagues are most often run in single year age bands where eligibility is based on the academic year. To ensure we are able to abide by FA rules so that players play within a 2 year age band, we have to bring our FA Girls’ England Talent Pathway in line.  If we do not make this change we would face players playing boys that are more than 2 years older, or be unable to progress in this part of the pathway by not entering into any boys leagues. These changes will also bring us in line with grassroots football and the Advanced Coaching Centres model.

Regional Talent Club Application Process

The process of licence application will be broken down into 3 stages:

Stage 1- Club Application Folder (Open Application)

To obtain an Application Pack please email To submit your Club Application Folder you must complete all areas of the application including any supporting evidence required.  Applications must be sent in both electronically and as a hard copy. Folders submitted after the deadline date will NOT be accepted.

Stage 2 – Business Plan (Invitation Only)

If you are invited to complete a Business Plan at Stage 2 of the application you will be expected to provide the following:

Staff data                            Details of those who will occupy the roles required within the Regional Talent Club at the tier you are applying for. All staff listed must meet the criteria in the Rules and Regulations.

Kit and Equipment         Details of what will be provided by the Club at training sessions and match days.

Finances                              A financial forecast must be submitted showing all income and expenditure for the forthcoming season. Expenditure will include training facility costs, match day costs, kit and equipment, staff fees, CPD, partnership work and any other expenses.  You must also provide evidence of your funding contribution.

You should consider having the above in place prior to Stage 2 of the application opening to assist you with the timescales involved.

Stage 3 – Presentation / Interview (If Required)

On successful completion and approval of stages 1 and 2 you may be invited to attend an interview and give a presentation on your application.

Application Process Timeline

Stage 1                                 Opens 26th October 2015 and closes on the 8th January 2016.

Stage 2                                 Opens 12th February 2016 and closes on the 11th March 2016.

Stage 3                                 If applicable w/c 11th April 2016.

We will communicate all the successful RTC licences by end of April 2016.  No trials or advertisement can take place prior to this official confirmation.

Should you require any further information or support on your application, please contact your local FA Regional Elite Women’s Coach Developer;

North West                                        Emma Jenks                            

Further to the release of the information regarding the introduction of the Regional Talent Club programme from 2016-17, Emma Jenks is holding 2 days’ of support workshops where interested clubs/ organisations are able to book a 1-hour appointment to ask questions or go through the process in some further detail.  Clubs may wish to bring anyone in your organisation who is ultimately responsible for their application.  These workshops will be held at the following times and venues:

Friday 6th November, 9am – 5pm at Manchester FA (The Complex Building | Platt Lane Complex | Yew Tree Road | Manchester | M14 7UU)

Tuesday 17th November, 9am – 5pm Venue TBC

To book an appointment please contact Emma Jenks on the email above.  Appointments will be given on a first come first served basis.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and commitment to the female elite game, and hope that you can share in our excitement for the season ahead.

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