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One of the Upper Sixth girls is now playing football regularly for an U18 national side. On Sunday 19 January, Jess Reddy (Haslewood House) played for the England Independent Schools’ U18 team against the Australia Schools in a match hosted at Repton School.
Jess was selected by the Independent Schools Football Association to play for the national side last August. To her surprise, she found that she already knew a number of the players: previously, she had encountered them in matches when playing for the Chelsea Ladies’ “Centre of Excellence” team. Over the last six months she has now played five matches with her new teammates, in addition training with them. This training is not only particularly intensive, but demands a special commitment, as much of it takes place during school holidays. In December, for example, she attended a two-day football camp at St George’s Park in Burton on Trent, the national training centre of the English Football Association.
Her latest match, against Australia Schools, was a difficult one. Although the England team scored first, their two strikers subsequently sustained injuries during the first half that put them out of action. With England almost unable to score any further goals, Australia equalised and went on to win the match. Jess’ personal performance was laudable in the face of such tough opposition, though. She assisted the goal in the first half by setting it up for the striker who scored. When England was forced onto the defensive, she then had the arduous and unenviable task of marking an exceptional opposition striker. Even so, she still held her own and managed to play many balls through to create opportunities for the England forward players.
The international match ended with a formal presentation of England caps to all the girls who have played for England schools so far in 2013-2014.
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