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London Pulse have committed to community outreach.

Vitality Super League match between Wasps Netball and London Pulse at Copper Box Arena, London, England on 10th May 2021.

Ever since their inception, London Pulse have been synonymous with developing the next generation of Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) talent. 

Pulse have achieved so much on court in the last two seasons – notably qualifying for their first Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championships in 2021 and winning all three opening games in the short-lived 2020 campaign – and have done so while giving young players a chance to shine. 

Against eventual finalists Team Bath Netball last season, for example, Head Coach Sam Bird selected a side with an average age of just 21 against a team full of seasoned international stars.

The likes of teenagers Kira Rothwell and Funmi Fadoju started that encounter while Sigi Burger was the oldest member of the Starting VII having just turned 25.

In fact, their club captain last season – England international defender Halimat Adio – is just 23 years of age but, like many of her teammates, plays with maturity beyond her years.

Their dedication to bringing inexperienced players through was rewarded in June when the aforementioned Fadoju won Young Player of the Season at the VNSL Awards following a tremendous year for the defender. 

In her acceptance speech, the England Future thanked Bird and Pulse for the opportunity to play her first full season at the top level in 2021. Since her appointment, Bird has prioritised player development and community outreach.

“At the heart of our sport is our grassroots and community clubs,” said Bird, a former England international. 

“I started my netball as a 10-year-old in the Luton Town Football Club car park in a netball summer league. That absolutely ignited my passion for netball which has remained ever since.”

Through numerous programmes implemented by Bird and her team, London’s only VNSL club have made a seismic impression on England’s capital and its people. 

This was recently recognised at 2021 London Sports Awards where they won the Elite Sport in the Community Award for their ‘incredible impact and outstanding contribution to physical activity and sport in London’ over the last 18 months.

Pulse’s community work includes community camps, a multi-sport programme which develops young athletes, an ‘Educate, Train & Inspire’ programme to provide over 400 young Pulse pathway athletes with skills outside of sport, and the Metro Blind Sport Partnership – the first specific provision of netball for VI athletes in the world.

The club also ran Metropolitan Police Day in conjunction with Netball LSE. This was a netball experience day with youth engagement officers of the Met because there are far fewer sport diversion opportunities for young women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Indeed, the benefits of embedding a club into the community are felt by all. As a result of their selfless work, Pulse have now built a squad full of local talent who have felt a connection with the club from a young age. 

These players now represent the team and their community at the highest domestic level the UK has to offer. Having this passion for the pink dress is an important factor for Bird who announced her squad of 15 in October.

“At London Pulse, community is really at the heart of everything we do and our players do come from the community which we represent in and around London,” she said.

“Our players in our roster this year have all come from similarly amazing community clubs and schools where they have had dedicated coaches, teachers which have really ignited their love for the sport. Those people are still relevant to our players in our roster today.”

As a nod to their community efforts and to celebrate those who start these players off on their own journey, Pulse announced their squad in full with information on each athlete’s junior club, school and current club.

Such is their importance, quotes from those who coached the players from a young age were also included. You can watch the full squad announcement here.

Notably, Pulse have added new personnel to their ranks for 2022. They come in the form of returning Jasmin Odeogberin, ex-Manchester Thunder youngsters Alicia Scholes and Berri Neil, and young Australian talents Sacha MacDonald and Tayla Honey. 

“I’m so excited about the squad we have,” said Bird.

“We have retained 10 players from last year and brought in five amazing new players. Crucially, they are some of the most talented players in the country. It is a privilege to be working with them at this stage of their career.”

After an upturn in results in the second half of the previous campaign, Bird will be confident that her young squad full of passionate, local talent will be able to climb high in the table when the season gets started in February. 

You can buy London Pulse tickets for next season now. Click here for more information on season tickets, match tickets and memberships. 

The club are always on the lookout for volunteers to help contribute towards the growth and success of London Pulse. Be a part of their new Contributors Club and open yourself up to some fantastic opportunities during the 2022 season. Find out more here.

Follow @NetballSL on Twitter, Instagram or subscribe to our newsletter for the latest Vitality Netball Superleague news. Buy Season Opener 2022 tickets here.

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