- Six-part reality series seeks to find Europe’s next stars in women’s football
- Faye White, Fara Williams, Jill Scott, Rio Ferdinand, Robin van Persie, Freddie Ljungberg, Jens Lehmann, and Peter Crouch lead masterclasses for contestants Show forms part of BT’s strategy to inspire women and girls to get into football
- BT Sport will premiere the first episode of ‘Ultimate Goal’ on Tuesday November 3, at 10.30pm on BT Sport 3. Episodes will air every Tuesday over a six-week run.
Ultimate Goal sees 31 women from across Europe live and train like professional footballers as the hopefuls take centre stage at the home of English Football, St George’s Park.
The Ultimate Goal Academy is managed by former Chelsea, Juventus and England legend Eni Aluko and former Liverpool, Everton and England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis, a BT Sport football analyst. The two managers are assisted by former professionals Mollie and Rosie Kmita (former West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur players) who serve as team coaches.
During the series Fara Williams, Rio Ferdinand, Faye White, Freddie Ljungberg, Jens Lehmann, Jill Scott, Peter Crouch and Robin Van Persie give the players the benefit of their experience and expertise in unique masterclasses.
Viewers get to know eleven of the women through in-depth profiles that shine a light on their lives and how they tackle issues such as equality, bereavement, mental health and discrimination.
Ultimate Goal has already produced a number of success stories, including one player who achieved her dream of playing abroad after signing for a club in Iceland soon after leaving the academy. Another of the academy alumni was given the captain’s armband during her first season at one of the leading academies for women’s football in the UK. Meanwhile, one of the contestants is now a regular starter for a club in the FA Women’s Championship.
Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer, BT Sport, said: “Ultimate Goal builds on BT’s commitment, as part of its long-term partnerships with each of the four UK “Home Nations” Football Associations, to inspire a new generation of girls and women to participate in football.”
Highlights of each episode:
Episode 1 – Premiering Tuesday, November 3: Thirty-one players start their Ultimate Goal journey at St George’s Park. First impressions are vital as they get out onto the pitch and try to catch the eyes of Managers Eni Aluko and Rachel Brown-Finnis. We see the first Masterclass of the series as Manchester United and England legend, the BT Sport analyst Rio Ferdinand imparts his vast defending knowledge with the squad.
Episode 2 – Premiering Tuesday, November 10: Emotions start to affect the players as the enormity of the opportunity hits home. England’s highest capped women’s player of all time Fara Williams provides the star quality, as she passes on a lifetime of experience in her midfield Masterclass.
Episode 3 – Premiering Tuesday, November 17: It’s the last chance to impress as the cut from 31 to 16 looms large. There are goalkeeper and striker Masterclasses from Eni Aluko and Rachel Brown-Finnis, before they have to make the tough decisions as to who stays and who goes home.
Episode 4 – Premiering Tuesday, November 24: The drama of the cut concludes in the Ultimate Goal Academy with joyful happiness and teary goodbyes before the final 16 get back on the training field with renewed vigour. It’s time to find the team leaders with help from England star Jill Scott and Swedish legend Freddy Ljungberg.
Episode 5 – Premiering Tuesday, December 1: With the showcase match against Birmingham City fast approaching, the managers are keen to turn this fantastic squad in to a winning team. Communication, a winning mentality and patterns of play are the focus. There are two more masterclasses as Germany legend Jens Lehmann puts our remaining keepers through their paces and England legend and BT Sport analyst Peter Crouch brings the smiles to his striker masterclass.
Episode 6 – Premiering Tuesday, December 8: The final episode of Ultimate Goal is all about the final preparations with the expert help of England legend Faye White’s tactical guidance, and Dutch star, the BT Sport analyst Robin Van Persie’s inspiring words. Follow all the action as they play the biggest game of their lives in front of watching agents and scouts.
The Ultimate Goal series is a collaboration between BT Sport and Insight TV. BT Sport will air the series in the UK while Insight TV will air the program in the US and the rest of the world.