The captain of the University of Brighton women’s football first team trod hallowed sporting ground as she took part in a discussion at FC Barcelona’s legendary Nou Camp stadium.
Dominique Beckett visited Barcelona as part of Santander Universities’ Women in Football scheme, which supports female talent in both their sporting and professional lives.
The Physical Education with QTS student was one of a group of leading footballers from women’s clubs at UK universities who participated in a programme of events, tours and training in the Catalan city.
The activities included a panel event on the subject of women’s leadership in the bowels of the Camp Nou featuring senior members of staff from Barcelona FC and Santander. Dominique was also put through her paces in a training session led by Chapi Ferrer, professional football coach and ex-player of FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC.
As an exciting bonus, the group saw Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and co take on Olympique Lyonnais in a crucial UEFA Champions League knockout tie, a result of Santander’s sponsorship of the competition.
Speaking before travelling to Barcelona, Dominique said: “This year I have been proud to captain the women’s first team, which has helped me gain confidence and a greater understanding of football.
“It has also given me opportunities like this. I am excited to go on the trip and experience new things – thank you to Santander Universities for giving me this chance.”
The University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris said: “We’re delighted that Dominique has been given the incredible opportunity to take part in the Women in Football trip to Barcelona.
“Experiences such as this one, organised by Santander, who we have been in partnership with for 10 years, are testament to Dominique’s hard work on the pitch and in her studies at the University of Brighton. We’re looking forward to seeing her growth as a player and a student following this trip of a lifetime.”
Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities, said: “We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to top female football talent across the UK to help develop their leadership skills within and outside a sporting context.
“We are committed to supporting higher education and we know those selected for this programme are equally committed to their sport and are an inspiration to their peers both on and off the pitch.”
Santander Universities was launched by Emilio Botin in Spain in 1996. The programme now has over 1,200 university partners across 20 countries. Santander Universities UK launched in 2007.