Talent Inclusion Programme with Tranmere provides Grace with the desire to push herself further

Tranmere Rovers in the Community have been one of 34 EFL Club Community Organisations running the EFL Talent Inclusion Programme.

The Talent Inclusion programme ensures that through existing community activities, female participants can be identified and referred to the FA England Women’s Talent Pathway.

Grace first attended a development centre with Tranmere at just 6 years old before being signed to the U10 team. The talent she possesses is not short of being a common occurrence in her family with six siblings who possess gifted and talented skillsets in various projects and sports at their schools.

Grace’s ability has seen her noticed and approached by various Regional Talent Centres, which was traditionally considered one of the first steps on the pathway to representing your country and elite performance. However, this would require huge sacrifice and commitment to attend training four times per week and travel the length and breadth of the country to attend fixtures at the weekend- something which Grace’s personal circumstances mean she was unable to pursue. Although Grace was unable to uptake such opportunities, she remains focused, dedicated, and determined to succeed and improve week in, and week out. This characteristic hails from her family who despite the complications they face strive to provide every opportunity possible for their children.

However, the introduction of the EFL Trust Talent Inclusion Programme at Tranmere changed things for Grace and has opened up a potential route to the England Team.

Grace was referred to the Talent Inclusion Programme and observed by The FA. Although Grace was initially disappointed that she did not initially progress to the next stage, however, the experience has fuelled her further to improve and ensure she gets another opportunity, which as she knows she is still being monitored is now a real possibility.

Alexis Lunn-Gadd, Women’s Talent Pathway Operations Manager at The FA explained: “Regardless of a players background or personal circumstances our aim is to create an accessible and inclusive FA Women’s England Talent pathway that enables players to have opportunities to show their talent in environments they are comfortable in. The EFL Talent Inclusion Programme creates these local opportunities and we are really proud of the work the CCO’s are delivering at a local level to help us unearth a future lioness.”

Being a very talented footballer, Grace was encouraged to also find a boys’ team to play in that was easily accessible and, on her doorstep, to allow her and her parents to juggle the commitments of her other siblings as well their working lives.

Grace explained: “Tranmere have always been good to me, and I feel like without them I still wouldn’t have the confidence or support to even be in a team so I owe a lot to them. I have always loved football and play with my brothers and sisters as soon as I get home from school. Having the opportunity to be put forward on an England pathway has been something I never thought could happen to someone like me, from where I am from. I am excited to see how far I can go with football and maybe I can have my chance to progress again.”

Louise Edwards, Head of Girls & Women’s development said, “This project is something we are really passionate about. We strongly believe that all girls regardless of their privileges or positions in society deserve the right to showcase the talent they may have, and share the same opportunities other girls have in different areas or circumstances to them.”

Claire, Grace’s mother said: “Having this opportunity has really given Grace the drive and determination to do more and want to better herself and I really feel she will go far if she continues with this attitude and the support from everyone at Tranmere.”

TIP Project Manager Nicol Meredith said “there have been big changes at the FA over the years, and talented girls like Grace, can be referred to the FA Women’s Talent Pathway, no matter what playing environment they sit in,

This opens up the door and allows us to cast the net further to unearth that hidden talent within community environments.

Tranmere Rovers are an excellent community organisation and I know they will continue to work with players like Grace and provide them inclusive and accessible opportunities.

To find out more about the Talent Inclusion Programme visit: https://eflinthecommunity.com/talent-inclusion.