Rachel Daly visits her grassroots club to unveil pitch named in her honour
Aston Villa forward and Lioness, Rachel Daly, was back in Harrogate at the club where her career began to unveil a pitch named in her honour – thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.
The Rachel Daly Pitch is one of 23 Football Foundation-funded pitches that the Football Foundation plans to name after each of the Lionesses that brought home the UEFA Women’s EUROs trophy to both honour their achievement and inspire future generations of women and girls.
The grass pitches at Killinghall Moor Community Park – home of Killinghall Nomads Junior Football Club (JFC) – have been vastly improved thanks to a total £79k investment from the Foundation, enabling more matches to be played no matter the weather.
Rachel Daly said: “It’s so important for girls to have a good first experience of football if they’re going to form a lifelong love for the game, like I did during my time at Killinghall. That can’t happen without a quality pitch that you can play on throughout the year.
“Thanks to the Football Foundation’s investment and some fantastic work from the team here at my grassroots club, I’m so excited that more girls than ever in my hometown will have the opportunity to kick off their football journeys on this pitch.”
The Lioness legacy pitches form a key part of the Foundation’s HERe to Play campaign, which celebrates the charity’s commitment to delivering facilities that provide equal access to women and girls playing football across the country. The campaign launched earlier this year with the openings of The Jill Scott Pitch and The Ella Toone Pitch – named after Rachel’s fellow teammates.
Robert Sullivan, CEO of the Football Foundation, said: “Grass pitches are the lifeblood of grassroots football so it’s extremely fitting that Rachel’s legacy for the local community in Harrogate should be honoured through this fantastic playing surface.
“Thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government, the Football Foundation is on a mission to transform the quality of grass pitches across the country and ensure every woman and girl has access to a quality place to play.”
Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said: "Last summer's Women's Euros was a major success for English sport, and it is only right that we dedicate 23 high-quality pitches like this one to the trophy-winning Lionesses.
"We want to make sure that people of all ages here in Harrogate have the chance to play football for decades to come, which is why we are investing over £300 million in grassroots sports facilities to inspire the next Rachel Daly."
Chris Dixon, Coach at Killinghall Nomads said: "We are so proud of what Rachel's achieved and it's great to see the girls and boys looking to Rachel and taking inspiration from her. The lionesses have really inspired children both boys and girls here!"
Earlier this year, the Club opened the Nomads Daly Brew Café – also named after the local hero – thanks to an additional £25k grant from the Football Foundation. The café provides refreshments to the friends and families of the next generation of Lionesses lacing up their boots at Killinghall.
For more information on the Football Foundation’s commitment to women and girls, click here.