Derby County Football Club is to fully integrate the Women’s First Team into the main club as part of a major expansion of its support for the women’s game.
Manager Sam Griffiths, her coaching staff and the first team squad will formalise their growing relationship with the men’s club as contracted employees, as part of David Clowes’ vision for the future of the club.
The exciting development, which is the latest step in a relationship between the men’s and women's setups that has grown substantially closer in the last few years, also sees the opening of a dedicated women’s hub at the Derby County Training Centre, and the establishment of a new elite player pathway.
This talent pipeline, which will aim to develop future First Team players, will replace the current Regional Talent Centre setup as FA funding to the existing centre ceases at the end of the 2022/23 season, as well as the existing Derby County Women Academy grassroots teams.
The new development will blend the significant expertise within the women’s game held by the Community Trust and the existing highly respected Derby County Women’s Academy coaches.
David Clowes, Derby County owner, said: “This is a hugely important move in terms of the future of the club. From the outset, we wanted to bring all aspects of the playing side under one roof at Moor Farm. But just as important is the ability we have as a club to reach out into the community and offer the opportunity for access, achievement and success throughout Derbyshire.”
Nick Britten, Chair of Derby County Women, said: “The new pathway formalises the ever-growing relationship between the men’s team, women’s team and Community Trust under the ‘one club’ ethos, which has become integral to the way we operate.
“For the First Team, it is a brilliant opportunity for the players and coaches to kick on by being a full part of Derby County and all the support that it brings, while the hub provides Sam Griffiths, her coaches and players a personal space, a closer connection and higher profile for the Women’s team.”
Simon Carnall, Head of Community at Derby County Community Trust, said: “Over the past seven years we’ve seen many young players develop through our Regional Talent Centre, to reach the Women’s First Team and even gain national call-ups.
“As the centre’s funding comes to a close, this new pathway will provide a robust training programme from junior level through to the First Team, harnessing and developing talent to ensure that opportunity for females in the local area is available at all levels, with the continuation of our Emerging Talent Centre too.
“From next season, trials will be open to all current players in the junior section of the Women’s club, current Regional Talent Centre players and any other players who may wish to be involved in an exciting new era of female football within Derbyshire.”
Fans can lend their support to the Women’s team when they take on Nottingham Forest Women at Pride Park Stadium on Sunday 26th March (2pm kick-off), with tickets available to purchase online now at dcfc.co.uk.
Derby County Football Club, Pride Park Stadium, Pride Park, Derby DE24 8XL.