Teesside University has teamed up with former student and international footballer Beth Mead to provide a unique scholarship opportunity to aspiring female footballers.
The Beth Mead Scholarship is now open for applications and is designed to support dual career students who have the potential to reach professional, national or international level within women’s football.
Four scholarships are available for the 2022/23 academic year. Successful scholars will each receive a bursary of £1,200, as well as bespoke sport science support to help them unlock their full potential. This will include strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, sport nutrition, sport psychology, biomechanical analysis and sport physiology from a team of experts at Teesside University.
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In addition, scholars will also receive one-to-one and group mentoring with Beth during their studies, as well as branded sports kits and gym membership.
Beth graduated from Teesside University with a BA (Hons) Sports Development in 2016 and was herself on the Elite Athlete Scheme which helped her to reach her sporting goals.
Since graduating Beth has achieved phenomenal success, playing professionally for Sunderland, before moving to Arsenal where she currently plays. The striker is a member of the national team and represented England at the 2019 Women’s World Cup and was also named PFA Young Player of the Year in 2016.
Beth, who is currently with the Lionesses who face Canada at the Riverside Stadium on Thursday, said: “The support I received from Teesside University was invaluable. I was fortunate to turn professional while still studying and, although it was a challenge, I am incredibly thankful that I was able to obtain my degree while also starting out on my professional football career.
— Beth Mead (@bmeado9) February 13, 2022
“I think it is really important that talented female footballers are given the platform and support network to flourish. The women’s game has really taken off in recent years and young women are starting to see that football is a viable career.
“I am delighted to be working with Teesside University to offer this scholarship and hope it will inspire other talented female footballers to succeed and follow their dreams.”
The Beth Mead Scholarship has been made available through the Teesside Transformation Fund, the University’s donor-supported initiative investing in future generations of students to cultivate talent and unlock their full potential. The scholarship is designed to support talented female footballers while they study towards a degree, and will give them the opportunity to play for the University team and take advantage of links with a number of professional teams in the region.
Professor Mark Simpson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) at Teesside University, said: “Beth is an ambassador for Teesside University and exemplifies what can be achieved through passion, dedication, talent and hard work.
“She has achieved incredible success and is the perfect role model for young female footballers looking to follow in her footsteps.
“We are delighted to be working alongside Beth on this scholarship and looking forward to supporting the first cohort of scholars to unlock their potential.”
Gemma Grainger, a fellow Teesside University graduate and the current Wales Women’s National Team Manager, has given her support to the Beth Mead Scholarship.
She said: “The most exciting thing for me about the Beth Mead Scholarship is that it is a bespoke programme targeting talented individuals who want to develop as a dual career athlete.
“The University’s commitment to providing a pathway, from grass roots, to potential footballing careers for female footballers through a higher education institution is fantastic.
“An important thing for me is that girls who have an ambition to become a female footballer don’t have to move away from the area to experience an amazing opportunity which they now have on their doorstep.”
Former England Women’s Manager Phil Neville, who has worked with Beth at international level, has also praised the launch of the Beth Mead Scholarship.
He said: “From the first time that I watched Beth play I knew that she was a special footballer. Alongside her ability on the field is her brilliant attitude and drive to succeed and be the best. But, for me, the most important quality Beth has is that she’s an incredible person – always respectful and polite and is loved by all her teammates and coaches.
“The scholarship is an amazing opportunity for these girls to get the best out of themselves and gain experience from someone like Beth.”
Current Middlesbrough Women FC Manager and former Middlesbrough player Andy Campbell said: “Beth has achieved incredible success and it is important that young female footballers have role models they can look up to.
“This scholarship is fantastic news and will provide yet more opportunities and support to enable female footballers in our region to flourish and reach their full potential. We wish the University the best of luck rolling out this scholarship and will continue to offer support as part of our successful partnership.”
Melanie Reay, Head Coach for Sunderland Women FC, where Beth started her professional career, added: “The first thing that comes to mind with Beth is her obvious talent, but what people don’t see is how hard she works off the field. She is the perfect role model to inspire female footballers who are looking to achieve their own dreams.”
Find out more about the Beth Mead Scholarship and apply at tees.ac.uk/bethmead. Or, to find out more about scholarships and the impact of philanthropy, visit our alumni website.