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Brighton takes a big step forward in women’s football after opening ‘fantastic’ new training ground

Brighton has made no secret of its desire to become a force in women’s football and has spoken regularly of its ambition to break into the European squares. But sometimes actions speak louder than words.

Hope Powell’s team has now moved to a £ 8.5 million training facility at the American Express Elite Performance Center, where the men are located, after the club announced its intention to do so in 2019.

The setup is impressive. The courts, gym, pools and medical center now available to the women’s team reflect what Graham Potter’s Premier League team wears on a day-to-day basis.

Brighton has officially moved its women's team to its new £ 8.5 million training facility

Brighton has officially moved its women’s team to its new £ 8.5 million training facility

Players previously trained at the University of Sussex, but now have access to state-of-the-art courts

Players previously trained at the University of Sussex, but now have access to state-of-the-art courts

Players previously trained at the University of Sussex, but now have access to state-of-the-art courts

There are other clubs in the women’s Super League that share facilities with the men’s teams, while Leicester and West Ham have their own spaces.

Sharing training facilities can make women’s teams feel like guests in someone else’s home, but that’s certainly not the case in Brighton.

“ Anyone else who walks in here is a guest, ” says Brighton manager Powell Sportsmail. “I think it’s great that we’re accommodating ourselves to the women’s path and academy.

‘We all have the same access, the same gym, the same pool. It’s about the women’s section of the club having the privilege of using the facilities, which is fantastic. ”

Brighton previously trained on courts at the University of Sussex and used a gym at Brighton’s Amex Stadium, which meant traveling back and forth between the two sites. Now the women’s team and the women’s academy are on the same site as the men’s team, but they have their own building and facilities for them.

“There is a big difference in the quality of the fields and we have a gym that is twice the size we had at the Amex,” says Powell. All of that helps players focus and allows them to be the best version of themselves in terms of recovery and pitching work.

They will now be located alongside the Graham Potter team at the Amex Elite Performance Center.

They will now be located alongside the Graham Potter team at the Amex Elite Performance Center.

They will now be located alongside the Graham Potter team at the Amex Elite Performance Center.

‘It is a real opportunity for them to be the best they can because everything is provided. It’s just a building, but the building and the things it contains, the resources it contains, the personnel in it, help players get ready and ready.

‘When we first gave them the tour there was a lot of’ wow ‘. I think one of the players said something like ‘how are we going to put the money back on the table?’ They recognize what they have, feel privileged and try to give it back on the field.

‘It’s really important that they value the brand, value what they have, be grateful. Especially the older players, who have never experienced this before, the younger players will go ahead and experience it more and more. ‘

The Brighton Women’s Academy trains on the same fields and uses the same facilities as Powell’s first team, something the former England boss believes is crucial in generating hope for young players.

‘We want those players in the academy, the U21 players, to see what is possible. They aspire to be a first team player and really seeing him and seeing the first team players around is very important.

It gives them a real inner struggle to say ‘I want to be that, I want to do that. It’s something they can look up to and I think having this facility, all in the same place, allows those young players to perhaps one day fulfill their dreams. ”

There is also a recovery group (above) that is available for both the first team and the girls' academy.

There is also a recovery group (above) that is available for both the first team and the girls' academy.

There is also a recovery group (above) that is available for both the first team and the girls’ academy.

Brighton is currently fifth in the WSL with three wins and two losses in five games. They also face an FA Cup semi-final with Arsenal on October 31. Since obtaining a WSL license in 2018, the club has solidified its position as a top-notch club, but the goal is to keep building.

“Our ambition is clear and stated, we want to be one of the top four clubs in the WSL,” says Michelle Walder, chair of the women’s and women’s soccer board.

‘The beginning of the season that we have had, we are going in the right direction. We wouldn’t be building this if we didn’t have a ton of ambition. I think it’s exciting for us as a club, but I also think it’s exciting for women’s football. ‘

Walder is also a non-executive director of the men’s club, but says the board is on the same page when it comes to investing in the women’s and girls’ setup and creating a ‘one club’ identity.

‘I wouldn’t say that I really have to push him. The club is united around that. We try to make sure everything feels like it’s really a part of Brighton in terms of being a part of the community and really connecting with the local area as much as we can and building from below with the academy on both sides.

“We want to make sure everything is really integrated and capture what it means to be in Brighton. Having a presence on the main board gives us that connectivity so we know that the women’s game is an integral part of all of our conversations. ‘

The facility also has an impressive gym that the Hope Powell side has to themselves.

The facility also has an impressive gym that the Hope Powell side has to themselves.

The facility also has an impressive gym that the Hope Powell side has to themselves.

Brighton first paid a player transfer fee when it signed Danielle Carter from Reading in the summer and a multi-million pound training camp will certainly help attract more quality players to the club.

“That’s what we hope for,” Powell said. “ I would like to think that we have one of the best facilities in the country and we hope that players will enter.

“The best players in the world expect to play on good fields and have good accessible facilities. I think we can show them that and tell them ‘this is what we have’ and that’s really attractive. ‘

Powell has been in management for just under 20 years, but with enthusiasm and investment in the women’s game at an all-time high, her motivation to continue is greater than ever.

I was a player myself and I come from a time when we trained on concrete, we paid substitutes, we had no equipment, we had to pay for the minibus, pay for everything. It was a professional hobby where they didn’t pay us, we had to go to work.

Now it is absolutely day and night. To continue being a part of it today and to see the growth and to see what is possible and to see what has been done, fills me with joy. It’s lovely to be a part of it. ‘

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