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Essex’s Female Player Development Centre (PDC) will continue to hugely benefit the local grassroots game and play an important part in progressing elite players according to the Essex FA’s Emma Burden.

Burden has been impressed with the progress the under-11, under-13 and under-15 age groups have made since the start of the season, with the PDC based at Shenfield High School’s 3G pitch.

The 25-week training programme, which runs through until May, works closely with clubs and schools and the overall aim is to bridge the gap between grassroots and Centres of Excellence (COE) as players still represent, and train with, their own clubs as well as receiving the additional support of PDC coaches.

Trials took place in September, and Essex FA Football Development Officer Burden, is thrilled with the improvement in the attendees so far.

“Girls get the opportunity to play with talented players from all over the county. The standard has been very high and competitive, proving a real challenge for the coaches involved,” she said.

“The PDC is primarily a technical programme which looks to complement the girls within grassroots football. It’s the first rung on the FA Elite Female Player Pathway.

“All the girls who have made the step up to centre of excellence football are a credit to their clubs and the PDC programme. To be selected as one of the best players for your age group in a county the size of Essex is fantastic, and it’s a reflection of their hard work and attitude.”

The PDC sits in-between grassroots and centre of excellence football, and the Essex FA have run a Female COE since the start of the 2013/14 campaign, one of only 31 in the country.

Nearly 80 players aged between seven and 17 are accommodated within that playing programme, which involves four hours of training a week and weekly fixtures against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Middlesex, and Brighton.

Scouts are also present at COE training sessions with a view to progressing talented players along the pathway - and recent examples from Essex are Abbie Fisher and Georgia Eaton-Collins.

They were both selected to attend an FA Elite Performance Camp at Surrey Sports Camp in November. Georgina Morton was also included on a standby list.

Burden reinforced the need for a link between all the elements, adding: “It’s important we link our Centre of Excellence with our Player Development Centre as much as we can. Players will be recommended and COE staff visit the PDC to deliver in-service events to the players and coaches.

“In our first season we had 12 players make the step up to centre of excellence football and last season 15 players were successful in gaining a centre place.”

If you’d like to know more about female football in Essex, contact your local Football Development Officer via the details on www.essexfa.com.

You can also connect with the latest Essex FA news and information on Twitter @EssexCountyFA and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.

Centre of Excellence 2013/14, Under 15s: Abigail Maynard (Island Girls), Ashley Searle (Assandun Vikings), Daisy Theobald (Tigers), Ellie Bowdidge (Writtle Minors), Ellie O’Shea (Assandun Vikings), Grace Baker (Writtle Minors), Hannah Clifford (Langley Colts), Holly-Jayne Pennycard (Tigers), Karys Paton (Rayne), Kirstie Jackson (Billericay Town), Lucy Barnes (Leigh Ramblers), Megan Harley (Leigh Ramblers), Olivia McDonnell (Island Girls), Rachel Lipede (Rayne), Rebecca Dunning (Great Danes), Shakeela Kemp (Writtle Minors), Sophie Rhodes (Assandun Vikings), Sophie Smith (Leigh Ramblers), Violet Pearce-Watson (Writtle Minors).

Under 13s: Aimee Gannon (Valley Green), Beau Parker (Aztec), Bethany Eldridge (Little Thurrock Dynamos), Connie Mashford (Leigh Ramblers), Grace Staunton (Great Danes), Holly Foley (Upminster Park Rovers), Hope Strauss (Leigh Ramblers), Isabel Plunkett (Great Danes), Jameela Barrett (LOASS), Jessica Strizovic (Upminster Park Rovers), Kara Pleasance (Colebrook Royals), Lily Gorman (Writtle Minors), Maisy Gutteridge (Leigh Ramblers), Maisy Wyer (Upminster Park Rovers), Millie Hawkins (Forest Glade), Molly Butcher (Rayne), Shannon Drewe (Colebrook Royals), Sofia Casaubon-Stovold (Bishop’s Stortford), Sophia McCarthy (Great Danes), Sophie Nyiro (Great Danes), Yasmin Cowley (Valley Green).

Under 11s: Amy Thompson (St Edmunds), Aoife Saunders (Island Girls), Brogan Preece (Tigers), Cara Chiba (Writtle Minors), Charlotte Carter (Black Notley), Eve Percival (Hutton), Frankie Henricks (Dagenham United), Freya Fuller (Forest Glade), Hannah Humm (Braintree Town), Katie Burbridge (Ecko Whitecaps), Katie Nuding (Island Girls), Macie Windsor (Island Girls), Maddie Biggs (Tigers), Megan Sutherland (Island Girls), Mya Turner (Upminster Park Rovers), Rachel Harle (Writtle Minors), Robyn Moody (Upminster Park Rovers), Rosie Richards (Writtle Minors), Sadie Barrett (Upminster Park Rovers), Sarah Henderson (Brentwood Athletic), Stephanie Hart (Hutton).

The Essex FA Girls’ Player Development Centre has been successful in helping to obtain numerous places at a Centre of Excellence.

Player Development Centre Under 11s: Charlotte Fleming (Great Danes/Writtle to Chelsea Under 13s), Ellie Nicholls (Great Wakering Rovers to Essex FA Under 13s), Holly Pearce (Writtle to Essex FA Under 13s), Wiktoria Kiszkis (Leyton Boys to Millwall Under 11s).

Player Development Centre Under 13s: Georgia Griffin (Tigers to Essex FA Under 15s), Jamie Lee Bamford (Rayne to Essex FA Under 15s), Tilly Deacon (Hawkwell Athletic to Essex FA Under 15s).

Player Development Centre Under 15s: Lucy Critchall (Tigers to Millwall Under 15s), Courtney George (Tigers to Millwall Under 17s), Ellie Finneran (S & T Academy to Cambridge Under 17s), Eloise Ives (Leigh Ramblers to Essex FA Under 17s), Maddi Hooper (Writtle to Essex FA Under 17s), Edie Preece (Charlton Athletic to Cambridge Under 17s).

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