Wakefield Trinity Ladies Are Community Driven
FAMOUS GLOBAL BRAND, Wakefield Trinity, are best known for their rich heritage within the sport of Rugby League. Founded in 1873, the brand has some 147 years of tradition attached to it and the ‘fleur de lys’ is recognised by millions of people across the globe.
In the latter part of 2018, Wakefield Trinity Community Foundation announced their intentions to launch a Women & Girls Football club ahead of the 2019/20 season. Sure enough, armed with an Under-16’s and an Open Age Women’s team they participated within the Covid-hit season and have since progressed to feature an Under-18’s, Development team (U-23) and First team with fixtures against Leeds United Women, Middlesbrough Women and Warrington Wolves Women during the recent pre-season campaign. An early Vitality Women’s FA Cup run throughout September and October culminated in a defeat at the hands of the impressive FC United of Manchester Women.
Unbeaten in the League in the 2020/21 season, Trinity Ladies are competing with Hull United and Altofts for promotion who have both enjoyed positive starts to the season as well.
It doesn’t stop there though, with a commitment to develop stars of the future in the community game. Chairman and CEO, Craig Shepherd, is adamant that the club should not be competing with the grassroots clubs, “When we launched we had a vision to play at the elite level of the Women’s game. To achieve the development of the club as a whole it is important to support the hard-working grassroots clubs within the district. We have Football Development Officers in schools, we’ve recruited a Coach Developer who will support the development of grassroots coaches to help make the environment fun but also a place where players can achieve potential. We have a Sister Club and Sister School programme where we coach players of the future in a curriculum environment that fits with the FA’s Four Corner model and, once the pandemic has settled down, we’ll go back to offering matchday opportunities to our incredible local clubs.”
“In the early part of next year, we have a Player Development Centre and Trinity DNA workshops supporting 11-16-year-old females through the PDC and 5-11-year-old females through the introductory Trinity DNA sessions. We are proudly hosting the player pathway for the district and not to serve ourselves, but to serve the grassroots clubs who work extremely hard all year round to provide young people with opportunities to play football. That’s why it’s so important to us to signpost new players to those clubs, and if we can do that, support their journey then if one or two top quality players pop out the other end we’d be delighted if they were to play at a high level with us.”
Building a new club is a tough job, though, and littered with obstacles as Wakefield Trinity Ladies have become aware of in the past two years.
“The hardest thing about Women’s Football is the paranoia. We have no intention of competing with grassroots clubs for players, we certainly don’t see our future playing at that level. For us, the FA Women’s National League Premier is a realistic goal and will provide the talented local footballers with an elite club to play for without having to exit the district. Some will still leave, but having options is what matters. Club’s like Altofts, Ossett Town, West End Terriers and Hemsworth Town have extremely good set-ups for girls football. We absolutely want to support their growth but because the Women’s game is still extremely small, we are seen as competitors by some, if not all of the above,” said Shepherd.
Recently, Wakefield AFC announced their plans to form a grassroots pathway, providing further opportunities in the district. They will form a Women’s team ahead of the 2021/22 season, a decision Trinity welcome.
Shepherd added, “It’s great to have another grassroots female team in Wakefield. I’m not too sure on the detail behind their plans but we would be delighted to work with them through our district pathway via the PDC and Trinity DNA sessions and hopefully, it will be another ‘Sister Club addition’. From what I know of Wakefield AFC, they are a forward-thinking organisation who will add value to the local game. Best of luck to them!”