Excellent England debut for Perse footballer

Beatrice Rogers (Upper Sixth) got a huge kick out of making her debut for the England Independent Schools (ISFA) girls’ U18 football team.

She joined up with the ISFA squad at St George’s Park, the training centre for England’s football sides at Burton, and played in two matches during their training camp.

Her maiden game for the ISFA could not have gone any better as they won 5-0 against the U19 representative team from This Girl Kicks – an organisation encouraging female participation in sport – at the centre’s indoor Wembley replica pitch.

They followed it up with a 1-0 victory over the English Colleges girls’ U18 team on the outdoor Gary Lineker pitch.

Beatrice, who regularly plays at centre-back, was elated to have been called up to the ISFA squad, having been drafted in due to injury to another defender. She had initially been named as a non-travelling reserve following trials in September.

She said: “I was really excited when I received the call up to the ISFA camp and getting my international cap at St George’s Park was very special.

“It was such an incredible experience to get to train and play at St George’s Park. The facilities they have there are amazing. Everyone was really welcoming and it was nice to be part of the team and meet new players from across the country.

“As well as the football training, we also used the swimming pool, ice baths and saunas at St George’s Park.

“My top highlight was the win against English Colleges as it is only the second time ISFA have ever beaten them.”

Beatrice, who hopes to be selected for another ISFA camp in February, began her journey in the sport in Year 4 after becoming the first girl to join the Perse Prep football team.

Not that it was a smooth start, as her experience highlights how far attitudes towards female involvement in football have progressed in the last decade.

She said: “I was selected to play in the boys’ team for two matches before the school received complaints from the opposition about girls in the team and I was no longer allowed to play, but the following year I joined my local girls’ team.”

Since then, Beatrice has gone from strength to strength having quickly gained a place in Cambridgeshire FA’s Advanced Training Centre, which she remained with until Year 11, alongside playing grassroots football for both girls’ and boys’ teams.

Having joined Cambridge United women’s development team in 2022, she is now part of their first team squad, playing in FA Women’s National League, Division One South-East.

Beatrice said: “Football really is just my happy place. My aim is to pursue a career as a professional footballer and I am looking forward to finishing my A levels and being able to give football my full attention.”

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