Plans for Northern Ireland Women to train on a full-time basis from January ahead of next summer's European Championship have been presented to MLAs and ministers at Stormont.

The Euros in England will be a first ever major tournament finals for the Northern Ireland team.

Representatives from across the political spectrum gathered to meet members of Kenny Shiels' squad and pledge support for their move from part-time status at a reception entitled "A New Dream", hosted by UUP MLA Mike Nesbitt.

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson told irishfa.com: "I was delighted to see so many political parties represented.

"It shows just how much support there is for these plans and we will talk to ministers and MLAs in more detail in the coming weeks."

Irish FA president Conrad Kirkwood said: "The remarkable story of our senior women's international team has been well documented: part-time footballers who defied all the odds to achieve what many people simply didn't think was possible - a spot at the UEFA Women's Euros next year.

"The football community in Northern Ireland is excited about women's football and we at the Irish FA are really excited, too."

Defender Julie Nelson, who is the team's record caps holder, said: "We are on the cusp of something really exciting. Qualifying for the Euros really is a new dream.

"We know that football can inspire people of all ages and this Northern Ireland team has the potential to inspire a new generation of fans and players. Many of the people in the room (at the reception) can help us realise that potential."