As we celebrate the victory by the men’s team today, the ladies squad were diligently preparing for their semi-final against Carli Lloyd and Manchester City. While their full season hasn’t started yet, the FA Cup tournament has afforded the ladies the chance to still play - and inspire younger players.
Siobhan Chamberlain and Gemma Bonner took part in the “Make Dreams Goals” initiative last week, which gives young girls the the opportunity to meet their heroes in Widnes’ Select Security Stadium. The pair were there to take photos and answer questions from fans, including pre-match rituals and preparations, and tips on how to improve.
“Honestly? I always have to plait Gemma’s (Bonner) hair and I usually do all of the other girls’ hair too! But I just try to stay relaxed,” Chamberlain said when asked how she prepares for a match. “I make sure I have a good meal and I always have a coffee before I play. It’s my pre-match superstition really. I need that dose of caffeine!”
The “Make Dreams Goals” initiative sets out to encourage young girls to pursue their football dreams - even if few will ultimately be chosen to turn them into reality. It was a nice change of pace over the training drills the girls have ultimately been through in preparation for Monday’s match.
“We’re really excited and we know we have to be ready for the game. It’s not going to be easy but we’ll be ready,” said Bonner. “It would be unbelievable to lead the team out at Wembley. As a child that’s what you talk about but I’ve never really had the chance as it wasn’t achievable when I was younger.
“For it to be a reality now and to be one step away, it is massive. We’ve got to concentrate on getting the result on Monday first and foremost but it’s definitely an exciting time.”
Chamberlain, England’s number one, agreed and added: “We’ve got a very good squad now. We have players who have been playing very well this season. Obviously, Caroline Weir has been nominated for the Player of the Year award and she can turn the game on its head like that. If she can be on her game and produce a little magical moment then that helps.
“Tash Harding as well – she’s been in the squad lots and has been among the goals this season which has been fantastic for us.
“If we can stay defensively strong, we have got players in the team who are capable of scoring goals so we just need to focus on our own game. We don’t need to worry about what they’re bringing; we just need to concentrate on carrying out our game plan and trust that will get us the result.”
The Ladies kick off against Manchester City on Monday, April 17th at 2pm BST.