All Scotland Women players to be full-time up to World Cup with Government funding

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All Scotland Women players to be full-time up to World Cup with Government funding
Scotland beat Albania 2-1 earlier this month to top their qualifying group

All of the Scotland women’s squad will be able to train full-time for next year’s World Cup after a funding boost from the Scottish Government.

Home-based players who are not professional currently combine working with playing for leading sides such as Glasgow City and Hibernian.

But financial support will mean Shelley Kerr’s squad will be full-time from January, up to the tournament in June.

“We are determined to start it in the best possible shape,” coach Kerr said.

“We are delighted to have the support of the Scottish Government through the Scottish Football Partnership Trust.

“We are in a fortunate position where a number of our players are already playing full-time and this agreement allows all of our squad to be at their optimal best when the tournament comes around.”

Nineteen of the 23 players in the squad Kerr named for the final two qualifiers against Switzerland and Albania are professional. Fifteen play in England, two in Sweden, one in Italy and one in the United States.

The remaining four – Leanne Crichton, Hayley Lauder and Lee Alexander from Glasgow City, and Joelle Murray from Hibernian – play in the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL), which is almost exclusively amateur.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is a patron of the Scotland women’s national team.

“It’s been fantastic to see the hard work of the squad and staff pay off by qualifying for the Fifa World Cup next year,” said Ms Sturgeon.

“This funding will allow all members of the squad to train full-time from January through to the World Cup next summer.

“This will also strengthen women’s and girls’ football in this country, and also give Shelley and her squad the best chance of success in the finals.

“We want to increase participation of women and girls in sport and I hope the success of the women’s team inspires more women and girls to get involved in sport, from grassroots activity to elite level.”

The Women’s World Cup is being staged in France and Scotland have qualified for the first time, after reaching their first major finals at last year’s European Championships.

The draw for the tournament takes place on 8 December.

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