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The FA's pledge on education for women in football

Despite playing football for her country and one of the biggest teams in the Women's Super League (WSL), Bethany England can often be found studying and taking part in educational activities outside of the game.

The FA's pledge on education for Women in football

"Law is something I've always been interested in growing up. I used to watch CSI, Criminal Minds and Law and Order with my mum," England told BBC Sport.

"It's nice to have another interest than sport. I love football - I live and breathe football - but you can't let it overtake your life to the extreme as what it can do. It's something different for my mind to get going on."

The Football Association (The FA) hopes that more women will join England as they begin to formally introduce a commitment for every club in the WSL and Women's Championship to have access to higher education for their players.

The majority of players will pay for their education, however, scholarships are available and the PFA can also provide grants.

The move comes as the FA looks to encourage young English talent to stay and not be lured away to the United States to get a degree through the college system.

England international fullback Lucy Bronze, who was named the FIFA best women's player in 2020, is just one of those senior players who went to the United States to study during the early years of their career.

"We want every club to have the right links so that the players can choose a number of options where they can engage in learning that interests them," Baroness Sue Campbell, the Football Association's director of women's football, told BBC Sport.

"We want to be seen to not just support [education], but to encourage it."

It is also believe that education can act as a further stimulant for the mind and could have a direct impact o performances on the pitch too.

"When you're in a football game, you're making decisions all the time," Campbell continued. "If your brain is sitting vacant, if you like, for large parts of the day, that isn't necessarily a good thing.

"For mental health and wellbeing it's a really good thing. There are stresses of playing high-performance sport. To have something different to distract you, to engage you, and to have an interest in, is really important."

Author: Jake Wilkin