Heart of Midlothian Women Football Club has linked-up with Edinburgh Napier University in a partnership that aims to inspire players to pursue a higher education alongside their sporting career.
The Club has become the latest to sign-up to the University’s Dual Career Programme, with the agreement giving players within the Elite Development Squad and Women’s First Team the option to study any degree at Edinburgh Napier while being supported by the Club in their football development.
The Dual Career Programme recognises the need for flexibility and the University will work with Hearts Women and individual players to accommodate training and match schedules within their academic timetable.
Players will also be given the opportunity to participate in approved research projects that will enable both parties to further explore pioneering research within women’s football.
It is also hoped the programme will help the club attract players and students from further afield, including the USA.
Edinburgh Napier’s Dual Career Programme will enable these athletes who choose the University for study, to gain automatic membership into the University’s Centre for Developing Athletes – an initiative enabled via Edinburgh Napier’s Dual Career Athlete and Coach Policy.
As part of the Centre for Developing Athletes, all players will be entitled to free access to Edinburgh Napier’s ENGAGE high performance gym at its Sighthill campus.
Dr Susan Brown, Edinburgh Napier University lead for partnerships and enterprise in sport, said: “This partnership aims to equip and empower the players to pursue their academic studies while being supported in every aspect regarding their footballing development. We hope to create dual career athletes who can excel both in their football talents but also within the sphere of academia.
“Hearts Women are in a fantastic place at the moment – both on and off the pitch – and I speak for everyone at Edinburgh Napier in saying that we are looking forward to playing a part in future successes, both across the First Team and the Elite Development Squad, and in support of the Women’s Academy ambitions.”
Kevin Murphy, Heart of Midlothian Girls Academy and Women’s Manager, said: “At Hearts, we recognise the importance of enabling our players to excel both on and off the pitch. We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with Edinburgh Napier University and we look forward to seeing our players reap the rewards of a programme that will support both their academic and footballing development.
“By partnering with a leading UK university, we hope to become an even more attractive proposition for prospective players who are keen to develop their football skills while furthering their education.”
Hearts Women get their Scottish Building Society SWPL 1 campaign under way on 23 February 2020 away to Rangers Women after lifting the SWPL 2 title in front of a record home crowd at Tynecastle Park in November last year.