Banking on the future of women’s football with the Kent Reliance Scholarship
16 Jun 2022

XL@Football believes that talented football players should have the same opportunities to succeed, no matter your background or financial status. Here at Kent Reliance we believe that too. Which is why we’ve taken our partnership with the club one step further and launched the Kent Reliance Scholarship Programme.

XL@Football has been working hard to level the playing field between the women and men’s games, with a mission to develop each and every player to reach their maximum potential.

To support this, the new scholarship creates a dedicated development pathway for female football players, providing a route into the professional game.

So far, since its launch on 1 May this year, four players have been offered the scholarship with trials ongoing for more recruits.

Stuart Grist, CEO of XL@Football, states: “It’s been amazing to see the academy develop so much in such a short amount of time, supporting local players to reach their full potential is such a privilege. The partnership between XL@Football and Kent Reliance has been a great journey so far, with their support, we’re able to provide local players and newcomers to the academy real opportunities to develop via schemes such as the Kent Reliance Scholarship. We already have other initiatives in the pipeline and we are excited to continue our partnership with Kent Reliance.”

Breaking down barriers

Some young people face financial barriers, which can limit their capacity to take part in sports, especially with the impact of the rising cost of living. This is where the scholarship comes in, by offering places to those who are financially vulnerable but also helping highly talented players to develop to their maximum potential.

One place costs the club £500 per season and XL@Football are hoping to offer eight places during the first season, with our support.  

Paul Whitlock, Group Managing Director of Savings at OSB Group, said: “As a retail savings bank with strong local roots, it’s a key focus for us to support our local community. I am delighted that the partnership with XL@Football is developing so well and helping provide opportunities to local players as well as younger people wanting to get into football. The launch of the Kent Reliance Scholarship Programme demonstrates the ongoing commitment for our local community from both Kent Reliance & XL@Football and we’re really looking forward to seeing the scholars and the scholarship programme develop.”

The Kent Reliance Sponsorship Programme is just one of a range of opportunities being offered by the club, which has recently built an under-18s team to bridge the gap for players between the youth team and the professional, adult game. The club were oversubscribed with applications, holding trials to select 18 players to join their squad, once again demonstrating the passion and desire for women’s football that has seen it develop into the fastest growing sport in the world*.

*https://wgp.global/why-womens-football-is-the-fastest-growing-sport-in-the-world/#:~:text=However%2C%20the%20game%20continues%20to,%2Dtrick%2C%20also%20a%20record.