Carrick Rangers have announced the launch of a women’s team which will be known as Carrick Rangers Falcons.
The move sees Futuro Falcons FC, founded and managed by Carrick men’s first team player Ben Tilney, amalgamate with the Premiership club.
Tilney will continue in his role of head coach of the Carrick Rangers Falcons alongside playing for the men’s team.
Both a first and reserve team will be entered into NIWFA leagues for 2024.
The east Antrim club sat they are also exploring “exciting plans to develop a thriving Falcons Academy for girls of all ages”.
The move represents the latest in a series of developments at Carrick Rangers, with the Taylors Avenue-based outfit revealing in August that American businessman Michael Smith had acquired a majority shareholding in the club.
This was followed by the news in November that American company, Fan Owned Club, were to give international football fans the chance to buy into the club.
Reflecting on the announcement of the launch of the club’s women’s team, Carrick Rangers chairman Peter Clarke commented: “This is fantastic news for our club, but especially girls and women in Carrickfergus and the surrounding areas.
“From the conversations Michael and I had with Ben, the enthusiasm he showed was infectious – not just in terms of this project, but for women’s football in general.
“The experience he has gained with Falcons to date, coupled with his existing understanding of our club’s structures, made him the ideal person to lead the Falcons.
“It comes as the next step in our long-term strategy to develop the club and with the exciting plans being worked on in regards to building an Academy, we will be able to provide all girls and women in our community with the opportunity to play and enjoy the sport of football.”
Head Coach Ben Tilney added: “I would like to say a big thank you to Michael Smith, Peter Clarke and all at Carrick Rangers who have been brilliant in making this happen and share the same passion for women’s football as we at the Falcons do.
“We have some exciting plans for our senior and academy teams and with the support of Carrick Rangers, it is going to be a fantastic place for any player to come and play their football.”