November 3, 2017
England head coach Ben Pitchley has today confirmed that Tim Healand and Paul Burton have been asked to head up the new England U17 women’s team.
Pitchley said: “Tim and Paul have done some great work over the years with the women’s and girl’s programme and this year we knew we needed to push the programme on to try and regain some of the momentum with the female game which I know Geoff (Hemmerman) is keen for us to do.
“Moving Tim and Paul from U14’s girls to U17’s women within the England National Team Programme was an easy decision and one that I know sits very well with both of them.”
Healand and Burton have extensive experience in the EIHA’s women’s programme and both have been associated with the England programme for more than ten years. The pair have countless championships to their name at club and conference level as well as excellent development capabilities demonstrated through the numerous international players who have graduated from their club and England programmes.
Tim and Paul now have the job of providing the Association’s elite female players with the best possible development opportunities to exploit their potential as Premier League, Elite League and GB prospects.
The move to establish the England U17 women’s team has caused something of a stir with a rush of eligible players signing up for the “This Girl Can” event held at Ice Sheffield last week.
England programme director Geoff Hemmerman was thrilled with the response from players and parents and said: “Everyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot for the women’s game and this latest development for the National Team Programme is a big step indeed and one that I believe will prove to be a huge benefit to all of those players who have potential to go on to represent Great Britain at U18 or as seniors in their own right.”
Mr Hemmerman took time last Thursday to explain how he sees the player pathway unfolding for female players as they take their first strides in to England at U13’s and U14’s. With the introduction of the England U13 team last November players who are considered to be at the required level of capability are invited to trial. In the current programme these players will typically come through the U11 conference and Power of Ten programmes.
In addition to opportunities at England U13’s, female players who have reached their tenth birthday will be eligible to trial for England U14 girls. This means that girls under fourteen years now have the Power of Ten, U11 conference, U13 conference, England U13 and England U14 programmes to try out for and hopefully become involved with. On reaching fourteen years of age girls will become eligible to trial for England U17 women’s team and for the current season at least players who have reached their 17th birthday will be able to attend the U17 development events to continue with their development.
The inclusion of seventeen year old players in the development programme for this season is a big step for the England Programme and a step that both Tim Healand and Paul Burton fully support.
Paul Burton explained: “We are not blessed with a large contingent of eligible players and so we need to keep our talented players together in our programme for as long as possible. We also need to explore how we can build on the work being done by the Great Britain programme and establish a closer link between the two programmes that together will hopefully achieve a greater standard of capability across our players. This is a great move and its an exciting time for the Association’s female players.”
England U17 women get their first trial event on Friday 17th November 2017 at Ice Sheffield and all eligible players (born 2000-2003 inclusive) are invited to join-up to the England TeamApp where they will find more information.
More news on the England U14 girls events will be published soon.