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MK Dons awarded Regional Talent Club licence

12 May 2016

MK Dons have been awarded a Tier 2 Regional Talent Club (RTC) licence for the next three years, which will enable them to deliver an elite girls’ football development programme.

The new structure has replaced the Centre of Excellence model and it will allow the Dons to provide an enhanced coaching schedule, as well as offer support to improve the development of elite female players through the FA Girls’ England talent pathway.

Following a six-month application process, 34 clubs and centres were grouped into three tiers dependent on their facilities, workforce, coach and player development, performance service provision and the number of age groups they will work with.

The clubs also have FA funding aligned to their tier, which they are required to match fund a percentage of, as well increased FA support.

Brent Hills, head of the Elite Performance Unit, said: “The introduction of Regional Talent Clubs will really enhance the development of the best young female talent in this country and ensure that clubs and centres are better supported in working with them.

“We are committed to growing the women’s game and developing winning England teams across all age groups and we are confident that these changes will help us deliver just that.”

As part of the changes, RTC age groups will run alongside the academic year, starting in September.

For the first time, the Dons’ Under-10s and Under-12s Girls teams will compete in Charter Standard youth leagues, which will enable them to develop both technically and physically. The older age groups, meanwhile, will compete in FA organised fixture programmes against other RTCs.

The changes have been led by The FA’s Elite Performance Unit, which was set up in 2014 to manage the development of elite female footballers and coaches, to benefit the domestic and international game and support winning England teams.

MK Dons Girls have had great successes in recent years, namely Amelia Hazard, Abbie Roberts, Alice Hassell, Tayla Duffy, Mel Filis and Carly Johns, who have all represented their respective countries in matches and training camps.

James Honeyman, MK Dons SET Football Development Manager, told “We are delighted to receive the tier we applied for and remain very committed to continuing to create England Internationals.

“A three-year licence allows us to have the security to continue developing our already successful player development programme that we all very much believe in.

“We are excited and very proud to be continuing our work with the FA for the foreseeable future.”

Player trials to join the Dons’ Regional Talent Club will begin in June, details of which can be found here.

All players at RTCs will be eligible to be selected for England across all tiers.

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