APD looking to expand and support more young women in their playing and studying

6 August 2019

APD looking to expand and support more young women in their playing and studying

Ciara Watling, vice-captain of Crystal Palace welcomes Charlton Athletic's Rachel Newborough to APD.

While the Women’s World Cup has rightly celebrated the successes of women playing football, there’s still a need for female players to ensure they have the foundations for a career after their time on the pitch ends. Studying while you play and train can be hard to fit in, so if you’re looking for a way to do both, Advanced Player Development (APD) could be the answer.

Managed by Northern Ireland internationals Ciara Watling, vice-captain of Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic's Rachel Newborough, APD sets up football education programmes in sixth forms and colleges, encouraging players to train while studying for A Levels or BTECs.

In addition, it also runs elite centres offering after-school training sessions delivered by UEFA A/B licensed coaches with professional experience. These sessions act as a supplement to grassroots team training, and the best players are selected to play in showcase games against teams such as Arsenal, Chelsea and Millwall.

APD currently has partnerships with The Halley Academy in Shooters Hill and North Kent College in Dartford. The first girls’ football education programme was set up two years ago at North Kent College and it plans to open a girls’ division at The Halley Academy in 2020.

If that wasn’t enough, the APD hall of fame has seen over 100 players gain professional academy contracts –including Darko Gyabi (Man City), Malcolm Ediowei (Arsenal) and Annie Rossitier (London City Lionesses).

Now APD are looking to expand its network and is looking for:

Female players The girls’ team has now been entered into the National Youth League, in which it will play teams such as Chelsea, Gillingham and Portsmouth. Coached by Ciara Watling, it is actively looking for more players to join the team to help compete in its first season in a highly competitive league.

A new team: The Halley Academy currently only has a boys’ team. APD wants to launch a girls’ programme in September 2020. Any girl living in south-east London and aged 16-18yrs, who enjoy football and want to gain BTECs or A Levels, please get in contact. 

Sponsors: APD are currently looking for sponsors. Funding would help towards new kit, equipment, and facilities. APD’s sponsor’s logo will be proudly worn on training and match kit and will be exposed all over south east London and Kent to families, Premier League clubs, grassroots clubs and schools.

New sixth forms / colleges: APD is aiming to find more contracts with sixth form and colleges across London, Kent and the south east. APD especially wants to push colleges to start female football programmes, as a way to support women in sport.

If you want to get involved… it’s easy! Whether you’re a girl based in south east London or Kent, aged 16-18yrs and want to become a scholar; a sixth form or college who want to start a football education programme; or a company looking to support or sponsor women’s football and education, please do get in touch with Rachel and Ciara at APD on or telephone +44 (0)7557 101 540.

And for more information, please go to



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