Middlesbrough FC follow in Barnsley FC's footsteps by launching women's football team

Middlesbrough have become the latest Football League side to launch a women's team.

It comes a week after Barnsley brought their Reds in the Community team, Barnsley Ladies, under the Oakwell club's umbrella, rebranding them as Barnsley FC.Whitby's Beth Mead and Stockton-born Jordan Nobbs are both products of the Teesside Sport Girls Regional Talent Club.Centre-forward Mead was in Middlesbrough's centre of excellence from the age of nine to 16, when she joined Sunderland after scoring a hat-trick against them in youth football, the start of a career which saw her win the European Championship as England’s top scorer in 2022, when she finished second in the women's Balon d'Or, as well as winning players of the tournament.Midfielder Nobbs had spells in Middlesbrough and Sunderland's academies, and moved from the Black Cats to Arsenal in 2010, as Mead would seven years later.Now at Aston Villa, she missed the Lionesses' European triumph through injury, as she did the 2019 World Cup with cruciate knee ligament damage, the injury currently keeping Mead out.If Middlesbrough's attempts to build on the success of the Lionesses prove a success, it should hopefully provide a platform for women such as Mead and Nobbs to pursue successful playing careers without having to leave the region.