This term we are focusing our attention on two female footballers, Year 7 student Hannah Silcock and Georgia Stevens from Year 12. From an early age both demonstrated an amazing amount of talent which did not go unnoticed and was quickly harnessed by some of the region’s top football clubs.
Hannah, who is currently the only female member of the Year 7 football team, has played an integral part in helping the team to become one of The Blue Coat School’s most successful Year 7 teams. Under the watchful eye of Manager Mr Graham Smith, the squad have progressed rapidly during their first season, having made it all the way through to the Quarter Finals of the English Schools Football Association’s PlayStation Cup, defeating schools such as the North Liverpool Academy, Sandbach High School, and Blackburn’s St Bede’s along the way.
Reflecting on the season so far Hannah admits that the prospect of being the only female was to begin with “quite scary”, but the initial feelings of trepidation were quickly quashed. When asked to pick one highlight of the season, Hannah quickly responded “scoring the winning goal during the latter stages of the PlayStation Cup competition.”
Remarking on her performance within the team so far this year, Year 7 manager Mr Graham Smith said “Hannah is a very good technical player and this, coupled with her high tempo playing style makes her a sporting prospect in both the girls and boys game.”
In a further demonstration of Hannah’s talent away from the Lance Lane playing fields, Hannah also spends time at Liverpool Football Club’s Girls Academy. A member of the club’s for the past three years, Hannah trains twice a week with her fellow under 12 teammates. The team, following 30 straight wins last season, look set for a bright future.
Recently invited to take part in Blackburn Rover’s International Women’s Day celebrations, Year 12 student Georgia Stevens’ natural sporting talent has led her to play for Liverpool County School Girls, Manchester City Girls, Everton and now Blackburn Ladies, and yet Georgia’s story does not end there. Scoring on her international debut against Italy, Georgia’s talent and professionalism has enabled her to become a well-respected and a key member of the England under 16 squad.
As Georgia prepares for her upcoming AS Level exams her attention is also focused on her next England under 16 appearance. We sat down with Georgia to discuss her remarkably rapid progress.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
So far my biggest accomplishment is representing my country and qualifying for the Elite Rounds of the European Championship. I travelled to Lithuania with the squad during October 2016, where we faced Lithuania, who we defeated 14-0 (which is the highest ever England scoring game in all age groups in both men and women), Slovenia, who we were beaten by 1-0, and Russia who we beat 1-0 to qualify for the Elite Stages. If the team win the Elite Stages then we qualify for the tournament in the Czech Republic in May.
What would be your ultimate achievement?
To play in a major tournament for the England Women’s senior team.
You are currently preparing for your AS Level exams, is it difficult to balance School and football?
It is difficult at times as it’s not just a hobby for me. I like to consider myself a professional in my sport as I am playing at an elite level. However the support I get from Blue Coat, Blackburn and England helps massively. Even when we are away on a camp with England, they make sure that education is a top priority and have private tutors. I have recently returned from a 10-day tournament in Spain, to play against Germany and France, and whilst there I completed my mock English exam.
As the youngest member of Blackburn Ladies are you treated differently from the other players?
I’m not really treated that differently. The girls there seem to see me as equal and age doesn’t really come into the equation when on the pitch. However, the older girls on the team, such as our captain, do take time out to help guide and support me or answer any questions I’ve got.
How many goals have you scored?
For England I have scored a total of 3 goals in 3 starts, I have, however 9 caps (including substitute appearances). Most notably, I scored on my international debut against Italy in my first ever experience with England. This is quite unheard of as the majority of the girls who represent their country in a match have been to numerous training camps beforehand. I on the other hand was called up straight into a tournament environment which was quite daunting.
For Blackburn I have scored a total of 15 goals for the reserve team in 13 appearances. If I score two more goals, I am the top goal scorer in the Premier League Reserve Division, and this includes the North, Midlands and South leagues. For the first team I have scored a total of 7 goals in 7 appearances. I am also the youngest ever goal scorer for Blackburn in the Lancashire County Cup.