England Women’s football team and Manchester United star, Ella Toone, has officially opened a 3G pitch carrying her name in Wigan. The Ella Toone Pitch is one of 23 Football Foundation-funded pitches that will be named after each of the Lionesses to honour their UEFA Women’s EUROs victory last summer and inspire the next generation of women and girls to get involved in football.
The pitch is part of the new £6.2m William Fosters Hub in Ince, just a short distance from Ella’s hometown of Tyldesley.
The site, which will include a total of two full-size 3G football turf pitches (FTPs) as well as a changing pavilion with a community café and social space, was made possible by a £3.7m grant from the Football Foundation and £2.5m in funding from Wigan Council. The opening is one of 1,600 new or upgraded grassroots sports facilities to benefit from a total investment of £64m earmarked for this year, provided by the government and its Football Foundation partners the Premier League and The FA.
Culture secretary, Lucy Frazer, said: “We’re delivering more than 1,600 new and improved grassroots sports facilities across the country to continue to support, sustain and grow community and grassroots sport – so that physical activity is accessible to all, no matter a person’s background or location.
“The ‘Ella Toone Pitch’ will enable the generation of women and girls inspired by the Lionesses to get active and involved.”
Opening the facility, Ella Toone said: “It feels just like yesterday that I was a kid kicking a ball around just a few miles from here but already so much has changed in the women’s game.
“It’s so exciting to see more and more women and girls wanting to play football and the amazing new facilities here will allow them to do just that.
“As a Lioness I feel a responsibility to be a role model for the next generation and it’s such an honour to do that with a pitch named after me in my hometown. I’m so grateful to the Football Foundation for the opportunity to inspire local girls to fall in love with the game just like I did.”