AoC Sport National Championships 2016

The National Championships are the pinnacle of the college sport year, with students representing their region as they battle to win the Wilkinson Sword Trophy.

This year’s event will be held in Tyne and Wear for the first time, with the women’s football tournament taking place at Northumbria University’s Coach Lane Campus from 15-17 April.

The 2015 title was won by Middlesbrough College, representing the North East, while London’s Barnet and Southgate College finished with the silver medal ahead of Winstanley College from the North West.

Ten colleges will be taking part in this year’s tournament, including last year’s medallists, in what is already gearing up to be an extremely competitive field.

There is set to be some exceptional talent on display too, with ECFA national team players Valentine Pursey (Worthing College and Brighton and Hove Albion), Lucia Marte Leon and Ronnel Humes (both Barnet and Southgate College and Tottenham Hotspur) all heading to Tyne and Wear.

Worthing’s Amelia Ritchie is also a Wales U-17 international, while there are set to be several other internationals on show, as well as players on the books of WSL clubs.

AoC Sport National Football Development Manager, Lauren O’Sullivan, said: “Women’s football is in greater position than it ever has been in FE, however there is still a long way to go. We are working closely with The FA to grow women’s football further and faster as part of The FA’s new strategy.

“What’s exciting is colleges can play a huge role in growing the female game and the female workforce. Colleges are already playing a critical role in retaining players after leaving school, working with local partners to grow girls’ and women’s football in the community and providing a full player pathway for 16-19 year olds to play the game at every level.

“The National Championships will provide a fantastic spectacle of college football and celebration of the women’s game, with a number of top players to watch from our ECFA National Team, WSL clubs and Women’s Premier Club Teams.”

Meanwhile, Manchester City and England midfielder Jill Scott will be in attendance as a guest speaker at the Opening Ceremony on Friday 15 April.

Now entering their 38th year, the National Championships are a celebration of competitive sport in colleges, providing recognition, enjoyment and a unique opportunity for students to compete. More than 1,200 students took part across 14 different sports last year.

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