Ridge City FC have become the first women’s football club to join forces with Everton FC in an exciting new partnership.
The Ghanaian club, based in Accra and formed just four years ago, are the newest addition to Everton’s International Academy Affiliate Programme (EIAAP) as the club looks to build on the huge progress made in the women’s game in recent years.
They are also the first African club to join the EIAAP programme, which aims to expand the knowledge and expertise of Everton’s player development processes to affiliated clubs across the world.
Everton aim to help expand the profile of Ridge City Football Club by facilitating and developing the women’s game in Ghana and offering a pathway for players.
The two clubs will also collaborate on player and coach development, coach education and helping Ridge City establish themselves as a foundation club for women in Ghana.
Formed in 2018, Ridge City FC have thrived following a truncated start as a professional club caused by the Covid pandemic: earning promotion to the Ghanaian Premier League in only their third season, as champions of Division One.
The club, which currently has around 30 women in its ranks, plus a burgeoning academy, aim to facilitate the development and promotion of women’s football in Ghana.
Ridge City’s mission also includes creating career opportunities for girls and women as footballers and in the technical and managerial aspects of the game, and contributing positively to the upliftment of female football in Ghana.
Cleopatra Nsiah Nketiah, CEO of Ridge City, said: “I am super excited about the partnership. We have been looking for an opportunity like this for a long time and the most important thing for us is that women in Ghana are serious about playing football.
“I feel like our relationship with Everton will help us on that pathway and let our people know that in Ghana you can play football and that there can be a career path, perhaps even having a chance to travel to the UK and trial there.
“The environment and resources Everton can provide is a huge pull and the opportunity to have online coaching programmes to follow, and even potential visits by their coaches, is another real positive that we can tap into, to help our women feel that they are part of something bigger.
“I want to let the world know that we can see a pathway forward for Ridge City and this is a relationship we can’t wait to be a part of.”
The EIAAP initiative provides clubs at all tiers of the game with access to the finest coaching knowledge from Everton’s renowned Academy to support with growth – a level of support that sets it apart from more traditional models.
A holistic approach to player, coach and club development, offering technical support from Everton’s Finch Farm training complex and business and marketing support from its Royal Liver Building business headquarters
Weekly support from a dedicated Everton Academy coach
Full access to the Everton Academy curriculum
Under the EIAAP initiative, coaches from Ridge City will have access to Everton’s state-of-the-art Finch Farm complex – the home of Everton’s senior men’s, senior women’s and academy teams – for education and training.
Paddy Byrne, Everton’s International Technical Manager, plans to make a future visit to Ridge City to assist in sharing the Everton Academy curriculum and implement methods used at Finch Farm to develop both player and coaching skills.
In turn, this provides Ridge City Women with further knowledge and help grow their club to achieve their vision and objectives.
Byrne added: “We are delighted to welcome Ridge City as an inaugural women’s partner club to Everton’s International Academy Affiliate programme.
“I’m excited to work with Cleopatra and her team and help them to build on the solid foundations laid in only four years of existence.
“We feel there is plenty of opportunity for them to grow – and by sharing our values and coaching methods we will build on the affiliate programme in a new territory.
“I am sure this will prove a fruitful partnership for both clubs, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Everton’s International Academy Affiliate Club programme, which is available to grassroots teams, professional sides, youth academies, girls’ and women’s teams, as well as colleges and universities, was launched in 2020.
The programme already has affiliates in the US, Canada, South America, Australia and Ireland.