The FA recently welcomed delegates from Hungary, Northern Ireland, Poland and the Netherlands to St. George’s Park for a UEFA Women's Football study group.
During their three-day stay, the visitors met the new England Women’s coaching team – Head Coach Mark Sampson, his assistant, Marieanne Spacey, and goalkeeping coach Lee Kendall.
They also observed an U19 training session and visited Aston Villa to hear from the Villains’ Women’s Football General Manager Martin Harrison.
This UEFA study group scheme aims to facilitate a greater exchange of ideas as member associations visit one another to share knowledge, experience and best practice in coach education, youth, women's and grassroots football.
England Women’s U19 Head Coach Mo Marley said: "This programme is a great way to share ideas and ultimately help develop women’s football across Europe which can only be a good thing.
"I hope our visitors found their time in England useful and I’m sure they’ll go away with a few ideas they can take back to their countries.
"There’s a lot of good work going on in this country in women’s football. We need to keep that going, but it’s important to recognise the positive steps we’ve taken already."
Before the study visit began in earnest, the delegates were given a tour of the national football centre and saw at first hand the world class facilities now available to the seven England Women’s teams.
The conference was opened by The FA's National Football Development Manager for Women’s Football, Rachel Pavlou, who described the structure of the women’s and girls’ game in England. Each visiting nation then shared details of how they are developing women’s football in their own countries.
On day two, the delegates were greeted by the England coaching team and Sampson outlined his ambitions and hopes for the coming months.
Marley then allowed the group to watch one of her U19 training sessions and went on to explain what lies in store for her side over the next 12 months.
Next up was a trip to Villa Park where Harrison described the ‘one club’ philosophy which has seen the women’s programme fully integrated into the men’s club. With youth development at the heart of the club’s success, the delegates were also able to observe the Centre of Excellence U13 and U15 indoor training sessions.
The final day saw a further two presentations; the first by Women’s National Leagues Manager Tessa Hayward, who explained the formation and recent expansion of The FA Women’s Super League and the continued importance of the winter pyramid to The FA.
The second by National Talent Development Manager and U15 Head Coach Kay Cossington gave details of the England Talent Pathway which aids in the identification, development and progression of players with the potential and aspiration to play for the Women’s Senior team.
Pavlou added: "These UEFA study visits are so important to all countries in Europe as we spend valuable time learning new initiatives and sharing good practice.
"We are all passionate about helping our countries thrive and the great ideas shared this week inspire us all to do better."