Foyle Ladies players are given the chance of a Football Scholarship

A collaboration of South Yorkshire sporting expertise has been formed to provide Doncaster Rovers Belles with a pathway to top-flight women's football.

The Belles, who have strong links with Foyle Ladies FC, are bidding to win a professional franchise in the new FA Women's Super League and have gained support from Sheffield United's community scheme, their girls' centre of excellence, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Hallam Students Union.

To help secure their place in the new Super League, which is set to kick-off in March 2011, the club needs to show the FA that their structure for player development is sufficient for a leading professional team.

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The new partnership means that girls in South Yorkshire and Ireland who show potential as top footballers, have a clear path to boost their skills.

At the moment many up to the age of 16 play for very successful local clubs, or if selected, attend the girls' centre for excellence at Sheffield United's Shirecliffe Academy, where they are given top-class coaching from the club's professional staff.

From there the Belles have developed a partnership with Balby Academy of Sport in Doncaster which offers 16-19 year-olds the opportunity to continue their full-time education, while gaining six hours of coaching each week.

Under the new partnership between Doncaster Belles, Foyle Ladies and Sheffield Hallam University, the best players will then be able to go on to study at Sheffield Hallam University and play with their women's squad. This enables players to enjoy further and higher education alongside their football development, whilst benefiting from the sport science support available at the University.

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The end result will see the top players being given the chance to be selected for the Belles squad, potentially in the new professional Super League, where many of the games will be televised.

John James, chairman of Doncaster Belles, said: "This is a win win scenario for all concerned and is the final piece in the jigsaw for the Belles in helping to bring new players through the ranks."