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Gillingham Centre Of Excellence Director Pete Sayer proudly displays the five girls that have become the first girls to move from the Centre Of Excellence on to Gillingham Ladies.
This season was a historic season for women's and girls football for Gillingham Football Club. Pete Sayer was appointed Director of the COE, the only COE in Kent, and they in turn for the first time ever brought Gillingham LFC officially on board and appointed Martin Andrews to oversee that concept.
Previously at the end of the Centre Of Excellance the young girls, if lucky enough, found themselves at Charlton or otherwise found themselves drifting into lower league clubs or giving up all together.
In the picture shown the five girls are proudly pictured with Pete Sayer, alongside Gillingham captain Becky Lyon (Back row in yellow) and vice captain (Back row in blue). The Centre of Excellence girls are:-(Front row, Left to right) Jessica Nunn, Lauren Harris, Charlotte Abbott, Kate Foster and Deanne Cooper.
As Gillingham had the weekend off, they organised a match between all squad members and the new girls of the Centre Of Excellence. The Gills have grown so much this season that an amazing 30 players were involved.
Director of Football, Martin Andrews commented: "It's amazing how far we have come this season, we really have off the field worked hard to lay the foundations for the future. For us to be able to sign five players from the COE shows what hard work Pete and his coaches have put in. These are not just five players - they are very, very good players and for the parents to have confidence in them signing for us is for us the ultimate achievement."
Gills manager Ian Varley was delighted with the signings, adding: "We have shown ambition to get these players to sign we had to show not just to them but their parents how ambitious we are. All of them had teams from the Southern Division and even the National Division after them and in the case of Deanne Cooper, she has been in the England Under-17 set up this season and to sign her up shows that we match their ambitions."
Martin also added: " Ian now sees it as a personal challenge of his coaching skills to make sure that Deanne keeps involved in the England set up, all of our coaching staff are excited at the forthcoming season."
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