In Cornwall we have recently had the trials for the U16 Schools county representative team, which I was privileged to be involved with.
It’s great to see girls from schools and clubs from across the county coming together to try out to represent their county.
I think that there are a lot of talented girls in the country who aren’t playing club football, or in the Centre of Excellence structure and I think the schools competition system is a system that should be monitored closer than it is for future potential England and WSL stars. In schools I am sure there are girls that are either a) unaware of playing opportunities outside of school, or b) who are talented but don’t have the time or desire to play outside of school.
At the moment in the current setup, to trial and get selected for England camps as a girl you have to be in the Centre of Excellence structure, which I think is a shame. I think special dispensation should be made for talented girls who play in the schools competition system. I think this would enrich and improve the England teams in years to come.
At club level I think a lot more needs to be done to link club teams with the schools competitions, as I am sure there will be girls up and down the country playing football for either their school or for their county rep squad who aren’t playing for a club and would like to. In Cornwall the club scene seems to be struggling for numbers at the moment, so if worked right the school system could really help grow the game at club level.
The final reason why I am a big fan of representative teams at all levels, is because I think by bringing players together from different schools and clubs, you can break down barriers and rivalries between players and teams. I think it is great for the social side of the game and can improve behaviour and discipline at grassroots level.
She Kicks – the online community for women’s football