08/08/2012 00:00 AM

Katie Zelem

The future is bright for women’s football

Manchester United Foundation helps to produce the stars of the future.

After Olympic disappointment for Team GB’s female footballers, Manchester United Foundation’s Girls Centre of Excellence is helping to develop the next generation of female football hopefuls.

QuoteOpenPlaying for England is a great honour and scoring is even better!QuoteClose

Two of the Centre’s girls have been selected for the FA’s England Under 17s training camp due to take place in Loughborough from the 10th–14th August 2012.  16 year-olds Katie Zelem (pictured) from Oldham and Natasha Flint from Lower Kersal in Salford will receive intensive training at the four day camp, intended to prepare players for UEFA tournaments.

The girls will stay on site at Welbeck College where they will take part in a demanding schedule of practical, technical and tactical training sessions. This will be supplemented with education surrounding diet and nutrition, training, recovery and tactics. The camp culminates with an inter-squad training match on the final day. 

Natasha said, “I’ve been playing for United for about 10 years; I was about five when I started. I’ve been called up for England twice before and I’ve travelled to Belgium with the team.  At the camps we do lots of skills training and play games, we train twice a day and meet up with the other players.  I’m really looking forward to this training camp. I’ve been watching some of the Olympic football and that’s what I really aspire to.”

Katie added, “I’ve been privileged to play for England before and I’m really excited to be selected again.  It’s not just about playing football; you have workshops where you learn other stuff and it’s also allowed me to travel to countries I’ve never been to before.  Playing for England is a great honour, wearing the Three Lions badge is fantastic and scoring is even better.”

Ahead of their England training, the girls were invited to catch some international football first-hand when they were given tickets to the semi-finals of the Olympic women’s football matches at Old Trafford on Monday 6th August. 

The Manchester United Foundation Girls’ Centre of Excellence was established in 2009 and provides opportunities for girls to play football at the highest level, with the aim of developing into international players.  Players who are selected for the Centre receive intensive training and support, along with the chance to compete against other Centres of Excellence teams from the North West.