In 2005 Bristol Rovers Women’s FC became known as Bristol Academy WFC under a new partnership agreement with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (previously Filton College). Bristol Academy are known as the Vixens and play at the Stoke Gifford Stadium, the club boasts an effective player pathway with a Skills Centre and Centre of Excellence for girls aged 8-16, and a college programme for players aged 16-19 to train, play and study at SGS College. Graduates from the COE and SGS college programme currently playing for Bristol Academy’s Women’s Super League team include: Grace McCatty, Alex Windell, Jasmine Matthews, Ellen Curson, Lauren Haynes, Rhian Cleverly, Georgia Evans, Ellie Leek and Rachel Hignett.
In 2010 BAWFC were successful in their bid to compete in the newly formed Women’s Super League. In their first season in the WSL in 2011, Manager Mark Sampson’s Vixens finished 5th, but more memorably the Academy made it into the FA Women’s Cup Final where they played Arsenal at the Ricoh Arena in front of over 18,000 fans. In the 2012 season the Vixens went one better in the league finishing 4th, with another successful FA Women’s Cup run making it as far as the Semi-Finals. 2012 saw the Vixens compete in the Women’s Champions League for the first time where they were knocked out in the last 32 against Russian side FC Energy Voronezh.
The club prides itself on being a community club and in 2011 won the Club of the Year award at the FA’s Women’s Football Awards. Vixen’s striker Anne Marie Heatherson currently works as a club ambassador and delivers coaching sessions at local clubs and schools to strengthen the links between the club and the local community, along with other Bristol Academy players who often visit schools, tournaments and club presentations. The work in the community is highlighted through match attendances with the club currently averaging 648 spectators per match with the majority being from local clubs and families, which makes Bristol Academy one of the best supported football clubs in Bristol and in the Women’s Super League.
Bristol Rovers Women’s Football Club was formed as a senior club in 1998 after girls, successively playing up to U16 level, became too old for these age groups.A merger with Cable-Tel LFC, in Wales, enabled the Club to enter the South West Women’s Combination. Each season thereafter has brought its successes both in the league and the Women’s FA Cup.
From winning the SW Combination in season 2000/01, with Dave Bell as Manager, the Club was promoted to the Southern Section of the FA Women’s Premier League. At that time it was only champions of the league that were being promoted to the National Division and the Gas Girls had to wait until summer 2003, with Tony Ricketts now at the helm, before successfully gaining a foothold with the elite. The first year within the National Division proved a struggle but season 2004/05, under the guidance of Gary Green, ended with the Gas girls finishing in their highest ever position, with only Arsenal, Charlton, Everton and Birmingham City being above them.
FA Womens Cup
Southern Premier 1
South West Combi 1
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Thursday 17 April 2014 19:00