Exeter City Football Club will make a contribution of £25,000 to the women’s team for the coming season.
This is an increase on the £5,000 per season the women's team previously received from the football club.
The sum will enable Exeter City Women to develop further and will cover the costs of coach travel to some of the further afield matches, provide investment in training methods and into the reserve team to enable them to play in the national reserve league.
To further show the club’s commitment to the women’s team, the squad will play two fixtures at St James Park, against Bournemouth on October 2 and Portishead on March 12.
Nick Hawker, chair of Exeter City Supporters’ Trust, said: “The club is pleased to be able to contribute this sum to the women’s team. It will support the players with things like travel and will also enable the team to develop further, which in turn, we hope, will enable them to achieve on the pitch. We are serious about women’s football at Exeter City Football Club and we will continue to do more to support this committed and ambitious group of players and staff.
“Logistics have made it challenging for the team to play games at St James Park, but we’re pleased to be able to have two fixtures here in the coming season, which will act as a real showcase for the game. The team’s last match at St James Park attracted more than 1,300 fans, which puts us on a par for attendance with some of the biggest women’s teams in the country.”
Thanks to a partnership with Exeter College, ECFC Women will play their home matches at Exwick Sports Hub this season.
Aaron Wakley, joint manager of Exeter City Women and women and girls’ football lead at Exeter City Community Trust, said the club’s investment would make a significant difference to the team.
“We’re very grateful to the club for this contribution. We have an incredibly committed team and this investment, which will contribute to so many aspects of their experience as an Exeter City player, whether through paying for travel or supporting training, will make a huge difference to them.
“We are lucky to have a number of sponsors who support the team, and it’s important to acknowledge and thank them for their ongoing contributions, as well.”
Exeter City Community Trust, the partner charity of Exeter City Football Club, has developed a female football pathway in Exeter which enables girls to play from just five years old. Sessions take place for older girls and talented young players can try out for the Girls’ Development Centre which is based at the club’s Cliff Hill Training Ground. The centre has around 100 girls aged between nine and 16 with talented players going on to Exeter College and ultimately to the Exeter City Women. Last season’s top scorer Connie Pengelly is just one player who came through the Girls’ Development Centre.