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Aberdeen Women make semi-professional move with five players secured on contracts until 2024

Aberdeen Women will make use of more time and facilities at Cormack Park next season.
Aberdeen Women will make use of more time and facilities at Cormack Park next season.

Aberdeen Women have made a move towards becoming semi-professional, with five players given contracts until 2024.

Young talents Bayley Hutchison, Eva Thomson, Jess Broadrick, Eilidh Shore and Francesca Ogilvie are the first female players to sign paid contracts in Dons history.

The milestone in the Reds women’s side’s development coincides with the elite women’s game moving from the SFA to SPFL control this summer, something which SWPL interim managing director Fiona McIntyre previously said she hoped would ‘accelerate’ Scotland’s women’s clubs moving to semi-professional and professional status.

In their first season back in the top-flight following back-to-back title successes, Aberdeen have impressed and are currently fifth in SWPL 1 – and the move to put players on semi-professional is a clear step by the club’s hierarchy to invest in further progression.

Alongside the part-time, semi-professional contracts for the five players listed, further investment will be made by the club to “enhance operations off the field, improve standards and infrastructure, while ensuring there is a clear pathway to professional football for female footballers across the north-east.”

Bayley Hutchison has landed a contract that will run until 2024.

Aberdeen director of football Steven Gunn is delighted to see the club’s vision, set in motion three years ago when the women’s side were fully intergrated into the Dons, take another step forward.

He said: “Ever since we took the decision to bring the women’s team under the Aberdeen FC umbrella in 2019, we have been on an incredible journey winning the SWFL Division 1 – North, SWPL 2 and now consolidating our place in SWPL 1.

“We’ve enjoyed several ‘firsts’ including the first AFC women’s match at Pittodrie recently in front of a fantastic crowd.

“Now we’re pleased to have rewarded this group of players with the club’s first-ever professional contracts for women football players as we embark on the next part of our journey with women’s football in the region.”

Francesca Ogilvie has also been offered a contract.

Meanwhile, Gavin Levey, AFC academy director, who oversees Aberdeen Women, added: “We feel it’s the right time to move forward and professionalise the game here in the north-east.

“It’s a big step for us, but it’s also a step that’s been taken with a lot of thought behind it and it fits both our long-term football strategy at the club and our financial model.

“Interest in and support for AFC Women has grown dramatically, and we think it is right to reward the players with the opportunity to become the first-ever professional female players in the club’s history.”

The Dons will join Rangers, Glasgow City, Celtic, Hibs, Spartans, and Hearts, who will all have players on professional or semi-professional contracts from next season.

The five players who have been signed up are some of the Dons’ most promising talents, and Levey hopes being offered a contract will help their development at Aberdeen.

He also revealed other players will have the chance to earn paid deals in the seasons ahead.

He added: “These players were selected because they are all young, promising players.

“We feel their performances and in particular, those at international level, merit the chance to go and develop to be the best they possibly can, like we would do for any young player here at Aberdeen Football Club.

“The rest of the players in the squad will have the opportunity to become professional as they progress and develop further.

“More importantly, we’re going to enhance what we do for them as well, for each individual that’s not on a professional contract.

“We’ll improve what we do for them going forward to help take us to another level and work our way up the league, but more importantly become a sustainable side in the top-flight.

“It’s ultimately about giving young girls in the north-east and beyond the chance to fulfil their dreams of becoming professional footballers here at Aberdeen FC.

“These five players will clearly demonstrate what is possible for aspiring female footballers making their first moves within the game.”

 

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