COMMUNITY spirit and a dedicated passion for football is giving hundreds of aspiring footballers the chance to become the next superstar.

The newly-formed FC Darlington Locomotives all girls’ football club has been set up by head coach and chairman Nathan Beadle.

“We’re a football family,” Mr Beadle said when reflecting on a whirlwind start to setting up the brand new club.

With a brand new name and venue the club started from a clean slate and operates an all-inclusive open door policy to girls of all ages and abilities.

Read more: Darlington Locomotives girls' football club launched

Mr Beadle explained: “We’ve got kids aged three to 14 and they all love football equally.

“I don’t think anyone should go without the opportunity that they’ve got. If they’re willing to play, we’ve got a place with them.

“I’ve never said no to anybody. We are still getting requests each week and you never know the affect that playing football is going to have on someone’s life.”

The head coach and hundreds of young footballers acrimoniously left Darlington Spraire Lasses club early this year but the head coach is keen to put the past behind him and focus on the exciting new project.

“It wasn’t the best of endings but we move on from it and we are benefitting now instead of playing second fiddle to anyone.

“The girls just wanted to get back to playing football, and they were concerned when they couldn’t do it, but I was never in any doubt. I knew I could get the support that I needed.

The club currently plays in the Russell Foster Youth Leagues and have enjoyed eight games so far, but Mr Beadle insists it’s not all about winning.

Its community work throughout the lockdown has also been praised in the area, and is a key part of the clubs ethos. During the several coronavirus lockdowns, youngsters raised funds to feed people most in need.

Football has always been a part of Mr Beadle’s life, coaching his first team as a teenager.

Read more: The Darlington football team that didn't drink enough beer

He said: “I got into coaching after playing as a young kid but I suffered from a bad back injury.

“I knew I didn’t want to be out of football and I started helping out with my younger brother’s team. I knew I had a passion for it and had something to give.

“I went into a local primary school when I was 20 years old to work and started teaching PE and that’s when I knew I could do something different.”

He later went on to coach a girls football team and now describes the decision as “the best thing I ever did”.

“It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” he added. “I knew I could really make a difference.

“I went from a team of six girls to now being chairman and head coach of a group of 114.”

Mr Beadle thanks the help of his mum and dad, coaches and the “massive support” from sponsors for helping the club operate.

He added: “It’s our own club now, there’s nobody else to take away any opportunities for the girls and they’re at the forefront of everything we do.”

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