Tuesday, January 26th, 2016
Bristol City Women’s manager Willie Kirk is building for the future by promoting 16 year old pair Flo Allen and Paige Sawyer into the first team squad.
Flo Allen secured a place in Norwich City’s U10s Centre of Excellence and progressed through to U17s before moving to Bristol to join the Bristol Academy of Sport College and football programme. After impressing Development Team Manager Lauren Smith, Flo progressed from the college team into the Development Team shortly after arriving in Bristol. The defender has also represented England at U15, U16 and U17 level and will travel with England U17s in February to California to compete in a friendly tournament with the USA, Japan and South Korea.
Willie Kirk spoke of his delight at bringing such a young talent into the first team squad: “When Flo came to visit Bristol with her parents prior to committing to college, she took part in a first team training session, and I was immediately impressed.
“Since joining the college programme, she has worked very hard at improving all aspects of her game, especially her physical attributes. She is great to work with, always asking questions and she has a growth mind-set, which will see her improve a whole lot more over the next few years. “
Paige Sawyer joined the club at the age of 9 and excelled at every age group from U10s to U17s in the Centre of Excellence. At 16 Paige then joined the Bristol Academy of Sport programme at SGS College and progressed into the Development Team at the start of the season. The centre forward has also attended FA performance camps, represented England at U15s and more recently has been selected for the English College’s FA national squad.
Paige commented on her move into the first team squad, saying: “The player pathway at the club allows me to study and train every day and being part of the first team is something that I’ve worked towards since I was a young girl.
“Like Flo, I look forward to making this season memorable and successful for the club and myself.”
Technical Director of the 9-19 programme at the club, Lauren Smith said: “Both players have worked very hard to reach this level, it's key for us as a club to give players the opportunities to develop at youth level. The College 16-19 programme alongside the experience of playing senior football in the development squad has been invaluable to Flo and Paige this year.
“I'm sure they will continue to develop and impress at first team level as they have done all season with me”
The player pathway at the club is vital for the club’s long term sustainability. In addition to the promotion of Flo and Paige, Bristol Academy of Sport Students Emma Tustin and Katie Jones remain in the squad this season, after making their first team debuts for the club last season and Poppy Wilson will be training with the first team this season in order to accelerate her development.