Bradford City FC Community Foundation Spotlights Women’s Team Pathways on International Women’s Day 2024

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Bradford City FC Community Foundation has shed light on the avenues leading to BCAFC’s Women’s teams through its Football and Education (F&E) programme.

The F&E Programme allows young individuals to meld their academic pursuits with football, enabling them to pursue qualifications while simultaneously engaging in training and match play, mirroring the professional footballer’s schedule.

Among the success stories is Summer Paley, a second-year student set to graduate this year, who seamlessly integrated her studies with her football responsibilities.

Reflecting on her experiences with the F&E programme and the transition to the first team, Summer remarked, “The training and playing schedule with F&E prepared me for the intensity in the first team and the workload.”

“I have a lot of coursework to do, so I make my own schedule so I can prioritise my studies alongside the first team. Being on the course helped bring me out of my shell, and gave me the tools in teamwork I needed. The F&E set up leads you towards a good education and a good standard of football, it’s a nice environment to be in.”

Numerous female players from the F&E Women’s teams have progressed to represent BCAFC Women in the first team, U23, and U21 squads. In a recent fixture, the F&E U19 Women A team showcased 10 players who advanced through BCAFC Women’s junior ranks.

Monika Stube, BCAFC Women captain and Latvia international, expressed pride in witnessing two players join the first team through their achievements in the F&E programme. Stube stated, “Seeing young players come into our environment from the F&E programme fills me with pride. They arrive as good players and well-rounded individuals, with the right attitude, who are eager to learn.”

Summer has now established herself as a first-team player for BCAFC Women, featuring
regularly for Emily Senior’s side.”

Qasim Akhtar, BCAFC Women Chairman and former F&E student said: “Seeing players come into our first-team environment from the F&E Programme provides our next generation of talent with not only dedicated future teammates but also the knowledge that hard work does pay off and that, for young women and girls in the city of Bradford, there are opportunities and pathways into football that result in playing and training at a high level.”

Summer was also a participant in a roundtable interview alongside her fellow F&E Women’s team players in November, part of the EFL’s Week of Action in 2023.