A team captain from the University of Wolverhampton has scored a trip of a lifetime to go behind the scenes at an international football stadium.
Student Lowri Walker is one of a select group of leading footballers from women’s football clubs at UK universities who will join a programme of events, tours and training.
The programme, organised by Santander Universities, is designed to help build critical thinking and management skills for female talent, both through sporting and wider leadership activity.
The 21-year-old, who captained her team to BUCS Conference Cup glory this week, will jet off to Barcelona this month for three days of activities at the iconic Camp Nou.
In celebration of Santander’s sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League, Lowri will have the chance to watch Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and their Barcelona team mates play in the club’s vital round sixteen tie against Olympique Lyonnais.
Lowri, who has a sports scholarship from the University, will also take part in a panel event on women’s leadership, and have the opportunity to benefit from a training session with Chapi Ferrer, professional football coach and ex-player of both FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC.
The visit also includes a tour of the Camp Nou stadium and time to visit the sights of Barcelona.
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science student Lowri, from Aberystwyth, said: “I’m so grateful to Santander Universities for this amazing opportunity, and I hope I can do the University proud when I represent our team in Barcelona. I’m really looking forward to visiting the Camp Nou and making the most of this exciting trip.
“As Captain of the women’s football team, I’m a role model for my players and having that on my shoulders has helped mould me into the person I want to be, and it has massively helped me on the pitch too. The Sports Scholarship from the University has developed me as a person and has made me feel like part of a wider team, so I’m incredibly grateful for the support I’ve received.”
Dr Richard Medcalf, Director of the Institute of Human Sciences, said: “I’m delighted that Lowri has been given this opportunity and am very grateful to Santander for their part in this.
Women’s football is a hugely important sport for us at Wolverhampton, the team is on course to gain promotion this year and Lowri is an excellent example of a sports scholar who takes a professional approach to both sport and study.”
Matt Hutnell, Director, Santander Universities, said: “We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to top female football talent from across the UK to help develop their leadership skills, both within and outside a sporting context. We are committed to supporting higher education and we know that those selected for this programme are equally committed to their sport, investing hours into training and are an inspiration to their peers both on and off the pitch.
We hope the trip will motivate and support female talent with their career ambitions – whether in the world of sport, finance or beyond.”
Emilio Botín launched Santander Universities in Spain in 1996, as an effective vehicle for business investment into its communities. The programme now has over 1,200 University partners across 20 countries. Santander Universities UK launched in 2007; encompassing 84 universities, and providing over £10m of funding in 2018 alone. The programme focuses on education, entrepreneurship and employability giving all students the opportunity to succeed.