From female students to football leaders

Football-mad students are on their way to dream roles after graduating from the elite FA University Women’s Leadership Programme.

Ellie Fox and Lizzie Craven, who study within the School of Sport & Exercise Science at LJMU, were among a select number of just 16 UK students to complete the year-long course which seeks to empower women in the national game.

A third student, Megan Short, will follow in their footsteps after securing a place in the next cohort.

All three are supported by the Football Exchange Women’s Network – set up by women academics in LJMU’s School of Sport and Exercise Science to connect women to opportunities in the football industry.

Professional player

Lizzie, who balances her studies on BSc (Hons) Science and Football, alongside a playing career at Stoke City Ladies Football Club, said: “The FA course helped me develop as a person and a leader. Recognising my strengths has boosted my confidence, encouraging me to try things out of my comfort zone.”

Ellie (pictured, above), who has recently teamed up with and external organisation to study the menstrual cycle in women's football as part of her Masters in Sport Psychology at LJMU, said: “The programme broadened my knowledge and experience and I was able to explore my purpose and passion in wanting to help make a difference for women in football.”

“The programme broadened my knowledge and experience in how to help develop and grow the women’s game. I was able to explore and question my purpose and passion in wanting to help make a difference for women in football.”

During the course, students met with inspirational figures from across the football sector, such as Baroness Sue Campbell, Director of Women’s Football at the FA.

Research connections

And LJMU’s links with the programme, which is run by BUCS, extends to include research and funded projects. For example, in 2020 Professional Doctorate student and FEx Women’s Network member Kristin Minister teamed up with Dr Francesca Champ, Dr Allistair McRobert and Dr Rebecca Murphy to design a ‘Monitoring and Evaluation System’ to explore the impact of the programme on the professional development of its women. 

Beth Jenkinson-Garner (Women and Girls Football Development Officer) said: “Partnering with LJMU to improve the monitoring and evaluation of our programme has been a complete game changer and we are really excited to see this relationship continue to flourish. The work LJMU carry out is critical in us evolving and celebrating the programme so that we continue to be the best we can be for the participants & alumni we serve. It has been a pleasure to work with an expert team and the product they have built for us is simply outstanding”.

The Football Exchange Women’s Network was established by Dr Francesa Champ, who is Lecturer in the Psychology of Football and the First Team Performance Psychologist at Liverpool FC Women's, Professor Zoe Knowles and Dr Tori Sprung. If you would like to get involved or are looking to work in the football industry contact us:


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