FIFA Women's World Cup – #RoadToCanada | Eclectic Cake: FIFA Women's World Cup – #RoadToCanada

Monday, 13 April 2015

FIFA Women's World Cup – #RoadToCanada

I played football for the first time ever last week. Yeah, I can explain the off-side rule with a table full of condiments but I've never played the sport. It was clear very early on who in our mixed group had the edge. The guys had been introduced to the game from a young age, the rest of us were taught that girls don't play football. But there is a squad of women proving that this just isn't true.

Jess Clarke is just one of the women representing England in the FIFA Women's World Cup this summer. At just 25, the Notts County forward has already earned 50 caps for her country and has her sights on scoring victory in Canada. I had the pleasure of asking her a few questions...

Jess Clarke is on the #RoadToCanada, supported by Continental Tyres

1. We often hear of young girls being discouraged to play football. Did you face any of this?
At school, the lads always used to tease me about it. I don't think they liked that I could play at the level that they could but I think that was just kids being young. Sometimes I would be a bit wary of getting involved just because they didn't like the fact that a girl could actually play but now I've achieved my goals and am playing at a professional level, the guys from school now really appreciate that. Often enough, I'll get a little text saying well done, it's really great and it's great to see that people have changed their views.


2. Who really encouraged you to start and continue to play? 
I remember one guy who used to live in my local area and he was such a good player, he used to beat me [at football] all the time and he really encouraged me to get better because I just wanted to beat him. I wanted to beat him so bad, so I used to be out practicing all the time. I think it was just a sense of proving people wrong that I quite enjoyed. And I think that was the turning point that made me push on and really pursue a career in football.


3. How do you think girls could be encouraged to play football?
Ultimately, I think in school and PE, making it part of the curriculum. I think that would be massive in encouraging them, to show that it's acceptable as well. I think the local areas, leisure centres...you'll see guys playing 5-a-side all the time but you'll never see girls playing. Something in the community, maybe having something there that could encourage girls.

I know that people in the FA and the football foundation are doing a fantastic job of doing that in the community, holding football festivals and helping people get involved.

Jess Clarke is on the #RoadToCanada, supported by Continental Tyres

4. What, in your opinion, has to be done to make women's football as accepted as men's?
I think that's difficult because it's changing people's opinions. How can you do that?! I think it's probably giving it more exposure but having a story behind it – where football has come from in the women's game to where it is now, what things have been done to achieve that. In doing that I think that would give people an appreciation of what women do in football. It would change people's views and maybe encourage them to get involved and maybe watch it more.


5. Other than football, which other sport or activity would you love to try?
I used to play basketball when I was younger and badminton, I used to really like as well. We used to play them in school. I like dancing but more like body popping. I don't know if I'm good at it but I like it.


6. What are your hopes ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup?
My hope as an individual is to fulfil my potential, be the best that I could possibly be. Obviously be part of a team and something special and ultimately, go over there and win the World Cup. I think that's everyone's dream.


7. What's your greatest career moment so far?
I would have to say the World Cup 2010. We were in the group stages and had to beat New Zealand. We were drawing 1–1 and Hope [Powell], the manager at the time, pulled me off the bench and I thought "oh god, she's going to put me on", bearing in mind I wasn't a regular at the time. So I got ready and she grabbed both my shoulders and said "you need to go on, you need to score a goal". That was it, I was really nervous! But with ten minutes to go, I came on and I banged in the goal and helped the team go through to the quarter final.


Learn more about Jess Clarke and her #RoadToCanada in the video below...

4 comments :

  1. I actually recently wanted to try women's football and tried googling beginner adult womens football courses and there is just nothing that I can see.

    This woman is awesome, I hope they do well!

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    1. I think they're few and far between, unfortunately. Perhaps start your own...? I can't wait to watch them in Canada!

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  2. In school my class fought for ages to have football in our P.E lessons, and we finally got it in the second to last year... We also fought to have basketball too like the boys instead of just netball. I think there needs to be more equality in schools with the sports on the curriculum.

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    1. Absolutely! From about the age of 8, our P.E lessons were separate from the boys', it was such a shame because we never got to even give the 'boy' sports a go. Well done you for campaigning to get the right to play other sports!

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