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Blackburn Rovers boss Sam Allardyce has backed a 'premier' initiative designed to enhance career opportunities for talented female footballers.
Myerscough College has teamed up with Rovers to offer academic qualifications for young girls who are leaving school.
The partnership focuses on providing the girls with a football coaching qualification, while still keeping open the possibility of progression to the Blackburn Rovers Ladies first team.
The College will deliver two courses (First Diploma Football Studies and National Diploma Football Studies) at the club's Indoor Centre at Ewood Park, utilising the facilities and resources on site, which include two designated classrooms, two indoor pitches and an IT suite.
External facilities include teaching and coaching at Burnley FC, Myerscough's Preston Centre, Witton Park AstroTurf pitches and the Blackburn Rovers Sports Arena at Darwen Vale.
The coaching staff at Myerscough have a range of specialist expertise within the football industry and excellent links with local football clubs and groups. In addition, the girls will have their own coaching delivered by Blackburn Rovers' fully qualified community coaches, which opens up further doors to a potential first team future.
Myerscough College, which is an FA Charter Standard College, operates a successful Football Development Centre, with teams playing in the English Colleges Football Association League, British Colleges League, English Colleges/Schools National Cup, Lancashire County Cup and the Lancashire FA Floodlit League.
It has a renowned reputation as one of the top colleges for football development in England, with a number of students having already achieved success on the pitch by progressing into the professional or semi-professional game.
Christina Craig, Myerscough College's learning manager for East Lancashire, said: "We are delighted to have strengthened our links with Blackburn Rovers Football Club through this venture.
"Through the partnership we are able to offer the girls the opportunity to play football for a high level club as well as allowing them the use of excellent training facilities, whilst also gaining a recognisable academic qualification from Myerscough College."
Kieran Bentley, a former student at Myerscough who is now Blackburn Rovers Ladies' assistant manager, said: "After spending two years coaching in America, I wanted to return to full-time education and carry on with my coaching at the same time.
"I'd heard about the courses at Myerscough, so I enrolled on a full-time Football Studies course and also managed to get myself some part-time work with Blackburn Rovers' Community Department.
"It was the perfect platform for me, because as well as getting an academic qualification, I also got some practical experience."
Jenna Carroll, a regular in the Rovers Ladies first team, added: "I enrolled on a Football Studies course at Myerscough College in 2006 and it gave me a great grounding in all aspects of the game."
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