The FA Regional Talent Club (RTC) is an enhanced coaching centre for girls U10, U12, U14 and U16 age groups, and allows players identified as having elite potential the opportunity to access appropriate levels of coaching and support. 33 RTCs are spread across the country and players registered with an RTC cannot be signed to any other club.
The Tier 1 Plus status has been awarded for ‘exceptional’ delivery across the Manchester United programme, which is managed by Manchester United Foundation. The RTC was adjudged to be exceeding in four out of the six Key Elements measured by the FA and coupled with consistent delivery and performance over previous seasons.
This, however, is not the first success for the girls RTC as historically a number of players have graduated to receive international honours and more recently represent Manchester United Women during their inaugural FA Women's Championship season.
Regular England internationals Izzy Christiansen and Gabby George both came through the Manchester United ranks while MU Women stars Katie Zelem, Kirsty Hanson, Emily Ramsey, Fran Bentley, Millie Turner, Naomi Hartley, and current player of the month Ella Toone, all graduated from United's RTC.
Casey Stoney, Manchester United Women’s Head Coach, said, “It’s a great achievement for the RTC; my staff and I have been down there regularly this season and have seen first-hand the hard work and dedication from all involved. Promoting youth is a huge part of Manchester United’s history and runs throughout the club so to see the RTC recognised for its part in developing young females on and off the pitch is really pleasing.”
Emma Fletcher, Manchester United Regional Talent Club manager, was proud of the achievement saying, “We have never made any secret of the fact that we wanted to be the best RTC in the country. We have a fantastic team who are dedicated to developing every young player that we work with. It’s not all about what happens on the football pitch, there is also incredible support for our players off the pitch too. Every one of our coaching staff makes a massive commitment to improving individual players, Manchester United players and confident girls and young women.”
Emma added, “We have always been confident that we do a great job but this recognition from The FA is a special time for the RTC. We have only had the FA licence for seven years so to gain this recognition is exciting for everyone involved and will make us strive to improve every season as we always have done. Now we have a full-time women’s team we can start planning more strategically over the next five or 10 years.“
Sharon Brownlie of the Football Association also congratulated the club on its achievement: “The Regional Talent Club was adjudged to be consistently exceeding Tier 1 Criteria. This is combined with consistently meeting criteria in the 2017-18 season. Manchester United is the first Tier 1 club to receive Tier 1 Plus status which is reserved for clubs that are seen to be meeting/exceeding criteria over the course of at least two consecutive seasons.”