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Has the #FIFAWWC inspired your youngster to play football? This summer we're running a girls' only course at the… https://t.co/luQbS4VIfd

RT @DarlRotary: @mcolclough spoke to @DarlRotary about the Sunderland Foundation of Light. Fantastic work being done all over the north eas…

RT @mcolclough: Privileged to be the guest speaker @DarlRotary meeting this afternoon @DolphinCentreUK, some great people and hopefully we…

Some great photos of our coaches at the @InglaterraNcasa Football Camp! https://t.co/sNaWwdiZOq

Agreed - the pupils were amazing! 👏👏👏 https://t.co/rv9G8HA186

RT @RachelWP_IAG: We've been hugely fortunate to have @YourLifeSkills join us @BeaconofLight for the final @futureme_ne Enterprise Challen…

Player Development Programme Head Coach @JackGray1997 looks back on Day 1 of the @InglaterraNcasa Coaching Camp! https://t.co/kkA8k0gukg

RT @BeaconofLight: We were delighted to welcome specialists from the @NHSuk who found out more about our work to improve health and wellbei…

RT @SAFCLadies: 🗞️ Our fixtures for the @FAWNL 2019-20 season have been released... Full details 👉 https://t.co/BLY6xvbGlL #SAFCLadies #…

RT @JWallaceSAFC: There's something for all ages at the @SAFCFoL @BeaconofLight this summer. Check out the range of activities on offer nex…

Here's a little peek at some of the activities on offer next week at the @BeaconofLight as we kick off an action pa… https://t.co/bN8X1snSPr

RT @RachelWP_IAG: Last day at this marvellous facility with @SAFCFoL and our last @futureme_ne Enterprise Challenge! 😢 Is this going to be…

NEW FOR SUMMER 2019: Save £££s on our sports camps and activities with our Holiday Course Season Ticket! For more… https://t.co/IWtBbJu4uN

Lads have finished their first day of coaching - long day but they’ve loved every minute, Bring on day 2 ⚽️ https://t.co/2LXb5kBbZd

RT @CestrianTweet: The dates are Monday 12 and Monday 19 August follow the link and book through the Sunderland FoL system https://t.co/nJj…

Live in #Sunderland? Want to get fit while having fun? Come along to our FREE #Soccercise session at Thompson Park… https://t.co/JcaOCypgkp

An end of year surprise for our #PLGirls participants at @Stbedesandbyron - a fun #UVFootball session! https://t.co/DRzWTHIkSE

Sport & Play coach Jake talking about his role at the Foundation as part of @UCFB’s #WATNow graduate success storie… https://t.co/ahcza3OHlV

Jul 15
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RT @Beacon_SC: Thank you to @TescoBankNews and Tesco Underwriting for inviting Head Coach @pearcecoach1 to their head office in Newcastle…

Scholars trio star for SAFC Ladies

Sunderland AFC Ladies head coach Melanie Reay has praised the impact of three Foundation Scholars on the Lady Black Cats team this season.

Emily Hutchinson, Maria Farrugia and Hannah Skull broke through into the first-team as the Ladies looked to bounce back following relegation from the FA Women’s Super League.

Reay’s young squad exceeded expectations in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division, finishing runners up to eventual champions Blackburn Rovers Ladies.

The girls have done extremely well. They have good attitudes and are focused on improving which is really important.

Melanie Reay, Sunderland AFC Ladies head coach

“After stepping up into senior football I was confident Emily was ready to play for England and she was called up to the U18 training camp.

“Maria waited a long time to play for the Ladies so has been very patient. She is a very talented player who brings a different dimension to our midfield.

“Hannah hasn’t had much game time this season but has improved a lot throughout the season. They are all young, they have time on their hands and with hard work can only get better.”

Emily scored 10 goals in 20 appearances in a season which also saw her selected for the Lionesses’ U18 training camp at St Georges in January.

The 18-year-old forward is a product of Foundation of Light’s Female Player Pathway, being spotted playing in a primary school tournament before being invited to trial for the Sunderland Girls’ Regional Talent Club, where she played for six years.

Joining the Foundation’s Football Scholarship programme in 2017, Emily achieved her dream of playing for the Ladies first-team when making her debut as a substitute against Fylde Ladies in August.

Emily, added: “It’s been a good season for the team and myself personally as I have played regularly and scored some goals.

“Being relegated was very disappointing for the club but it has given young players like myself, Maria and Hannah a chance to be involved with the first team which may not have happened.

“The Scholarship programme has helped me make the step up to the Women’s National League as you get to train every day with first-class coaches, play against some of the country’s best teams and you can continue your education too. I would definitely recommend it.

“Although I haven’t decided what I’d like to do when I leave the Scholarship this summer, I’ll be staying with SAFC Ladies and hopefully help them get promoted.”

Regarded one of her country’s brightest prospects, Malta international Maria moved to Wearside in 2016 with her mother to join the Scholarship programme.

The midfielder signed for SAFC Ladies after turning 18 in February and quickly settled into the side, netting three times in her eight appearances.

“It was a very positive season.” Maria said. “I would like to thank my team mates, coaches and tutors at the SAFC Ladies and the Foundation for making me feel so welcome.

“The Scholarship has helped me develop both on and off the pitch – we get to train at the Beacon which has amazing pitches, gym and classrooms.

“I’m hoping to go to university alongside playing for SAFC Ladies next season.”

Launched in 2017, the Football Scholarship programme gives youngsters aged 16-18 years old the chance to represent Sunderland AFC against Premier League and EFL development sides while studying towards nationally recognised qualifications.

Building on their successful first year, the Ladies Scholars made history by competing in the CEFA Women’s North Division, the EFL’s first competitive football league for females, as well as playing in the NFYL U19 Women’s Premier Division and reaching the NFYL U19 Ladies Cup semi-finals.

In May, the Scholars represented South Tyneside College in the ECFA Women’s Premier Cup Final at Walsall’s Banks’ Stadium, narrowly losing out 1-0 to Barking Abbey Football Academy.

In addition to Emily, Maria and Hannah, players from the programme have been invited to train with SAFC Ladies while Victoria Curtis and Dominyka Podziute have featured regularly for Newcastle United Women.

The Football Scholarship programme is holding open training sessions during May Half Term. For more information, or to register your interest, visit our Football Scholarship page.

Written By CHRIS FRYATT

17 May 2019

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