Sheffield United Women move towards full-time playing model

Sheffield United
Sean Chandler / SPP

Sheffield United Women will be transitioning towards a full-time playing model and introducing a Professional Game Academy, while continuing to play home matches at Bramall Lane.

Several players and staff members will be signing full-time contracts as the team look to remain competitive under the leadership of Jonathan Morgan in the second tier, enhancing the commitment to the women’s game while continuing to allow for flexibility of players during a transitional period.

United Women has also been awarded a Category One Professional Game Academy Licence from the FA, meaning the club can continue to nurture young talent and provide a seamless pathway into senior football.

The Blades will have two academy age groups in this full-time setup and will enter an under-21 team into the Women’s Super League Academy for the first time, while continuing to deliver the club’s Emerging Talent Centre for girls aged eight to 16.

Heading up this new academy will be Sophie Barker, who will take up the role of academy manager alongside her playing duties as United Women’s captain. Barker recently achieved her UEFA A Licence and already has substantial experience in coaching and player development.

At senior level, this exciting new chapter will take place at Bramall Lane and season tickets for United Women’s second full campaign at the club’s main stadium will be on sale soon.

United Women plan to recruit a Head of Women’s Football over the coming weeks to oversee the continued development and progression of the women’s game at Sheffield United.

United’s chief executive officer, Stephen Bettis, commented: “During an increasingly exciting time for women’s football, we are delighted to take these steps at Sheffield United to reaffirm our commitment to our women’s team and its continued development.

“The investment in Sheffield United Women from our supporters as well as the club in recent years has been clear to see, and we’re all looking forward to continuing this journey together.

“As with Paul Heckingbottom and the men’s team, the board will support Jonathan Morgan and the women’s team as much as possible to continue the club’s pursuit for success.”

2023–24 UEFA Women’s Champions League round 1 draw 

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