The chief executive of the Essex County FA hopes the demise of the Colchester United Ladies team won’t see talented female footballers lost to the local area.

Phil Sammons said he was disappointed to see the U’s Ladies side fold but is hoping that the club’s former players can find homes with other clubs in Essex.

While those teams may not be operating at the same Premier League level that Colchester had worked their way up to, Sammons hopes an influx of experienced and talented players can strengthen other sides and help them progress to the higher echelons of the female game.

He said: “It is disappointing when we lose any of our clubs, but when it does happen you can only hope that their players go on to play somewhere else rather than being lost to the game.

“With Colchester United Ladies having such a talented group of players, I’m sure they will go on to find football elsewhere.

“And looking at it another way, if they do go down a level to keep playing, it will strengthen the structure of football at the level below where Colchester were playing.

“By strengthening those teams, it may allow them to then take the step up to where Colchester were in years to come.

“The key for us is if they continue to keep playing.”

The Gazette revealed yesterday how Colchester United Ladies had been unable to continue operating after the Colchester United Community Sports Trust, which held the team’s FA affiliation, folded last year.

Due to central FA rules, the Trust’s demise meant a change of ownership for the U’s Ladies and with no-one coming forward to take up that new ownership, the club has ceased to exist.

There was a similar problem for the Colchester United Girls’ Centre of Excellence that has been developing the next generation of female talent in the area.

While Sammons said there was no opportunity for the County FA to adopt the senior women’s side because they don’t run clubs under their banner, they have been able to help out with the younger players and it will now be called the Essex County FA Centre of Excellence.

Sammons added: “We’re trying to continue the good work that the Trust were doing with the Centre of Excellence.

“It is not about results at that level, it is about producing better players and giving them a pathway in the game once they reach senior levels.

“There won’t be an Essex FA United at a senior level, but our role means we can take on the Centre of Excellence and develop these girls.”