They are unbeaten in 27 games and have triumphed over all but one opponent this season. Now a team of teenage girl footballers from Tyne Metropolitan College (TyneMet) face their toughest test yet when they compete in the final of a national cup.
Tyne Metropolitan College’s (TyneMet) under-18 side take on Sussex’s SEEVIC College in the English Schools FA (ESFA) Girls Under 18 Colleges Trophy on Wednesday, March 27.
Taking place at AFC Fylde’s Mill Farm Stadium, the side go into the game brimming with confidence but wary of complacency. Their five cup wins have included comprehensive 12-0 and 7-0 away victories against Runshaw College, Lancs, and York College, respectively.
Final success would add icing to the cake - but there may be more to come for a team which also won the under 21 English Colleges FA league by five points. They are also through to the final of the National Football Youth League Cup, a date for which has yet to be confirmed, and the team progressed to the third round of the Premier Cup but had to withdraw due to a logjam of fixtures.
Carl Chater, Head of Women’s Football at TyneMet and a coach at the NUFC Foundation, said his players were confident of clinching the ESFA trophy.
But he insisted they were taking nothing for granted, adding: “We are unbeaten all season and are in fine form, so it is to be expected that we are looking forward to the game.
“But there will be no complacency – the standard of girls’ football is generally better in the south of the country than the north, so we will be watchful.
“However, SEEVIC recently only managed to draw with a side that we have beaten this season, so that bodes well. We are full of belief and in good form, and have good and talented players, but we will not be over-confident.”
Carl, an assistant manager with the English College FA (ECFA) under 19 national team, added: “We have competed in this competition for 11 seasons, but this is our first final.
“I think the secret to this season’s exceptional success has been largely due to the entirely positive environment we have established at TyneMet.
“The high-quality sports programmes we deliver also mean we have been able to attract excellent players over the past two years. The college is giving these girls a very good platform on which to learn academically and to play.”
TyneMet’s ESFA cup run began in October when they bet Sunderland College 1-0 at home, which was followed by a 4-1 away win at Gateshead College. Victories at York College and Runshaw College followed, and a final place was secured with a 2-0 semi-final away win against Huddersfield New College.
All but one of the team is studying for sports qualifications, either sports coaching or sports science.
For Carl, the season’s highlight has been the match-winning performance in the tough semi-final of Rebecca Henderson, 17, who scored the first goal and played a pivotal role throughout.
The final is part of a double-header celebration of girls’ football, with the ESFA U18 Schools’ Cup for Girls also taking place at the same stadium.
In all, over 100 schools and colleges entered the ESFA U18 Schools’ & Colleges’ Cup for Girls competitions, which showcase the highest schoolgirl football levels.
The ESFA says there has been an increase in entries into girls’ football competitions this season. Darren Alcock, ESFA National Competitions Manager, said “The atmosphere in the stadium makes all the difference to the players on the pitch and whilst we do all we can to create a fantastic match-day experience for them, we rely on supporters and the public to create a real buzz around the final.
“Schools from the local area will be invited to attend, with special discounted rates of entry and AFC Fylde season ticket holders can also claim free entry for the match. We hope to welcome along as many spectators as possible to enjoy the event.”
The games will be streamed live online via the action live and direct to their mobile device.
Since 1904, the English Schools’ FA has been the National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England, running all national football competitions for schools and districts across the country.
National Cup competitions culminate in the staging of National Finals held at various prestigious football stadiums and training grounds from March to June. Previous venues have included Madejski Stadium, Goodison Park and Britannia Stadium.
Working with sponsors such as PlayStation, the Premier League and Danone, the ESFA can provide many different opportunities for children at all ages to participate in football in England.
Information on football programmes at TyneMet is available from Carl at , , or 0191 229 5000.