Lower 5 pupil Ella Pusey has recently returned from St Georges Park, Burton-Upon-Trent to attend a two day football training camp run by the ISFA (Independent Schools Football Association) where she has been playing in her new role as part of the U16 England football squad. She gives her account below:
‘The facilities were unbelievable. There were many manicured pitches that had the perfect length of grass; huge changing rooms and vast showers; TVs and ice baths.
In the first game against Shropshire Schools we played on the indoor 3G pitch and it was the size of Wembley; it was pretty impressive but tough. I was in the starting line-up and they were a very strong team but we won 4-1. I scored a hat-trick in the first-half and then I was rested in the second half. One of the goals I scored was a cheeky back heel. It was an amazing experience to play on this pitch which was a challenge but a challenge that I enjoyed.
The second game was against Scotland. I was a substitute to give the other squad members game time. I came on briefly then sustained a nasty knock and had to come off, fortunately I came back on for the last 10 minutes. The game finished 4-3 to Scotland. I was disappointed not to play more but again it was a good experience playing on a perfect pitch and in this game our changing room was the main changing one, which the England first team use which was incredible.
Part of the training camp was to use the pool for our rest and recuperation session after the Shropshire game. We did a lot of work in the pool, for example working on our hamstrings by using the technique of 'kicking the door down'. This was more difficult than I first thought. Then, they made us do it again with floats and with the floor of the pool lower, which they adjusted electronically; very impressive. This was followed by the ice pool: we had to stand in it for 10 minutes which was again challenging but a good challenge, although I wouldn't volunteer to do it again in a rush!
It was an incredible experience with the amazing facilities and great coaching. Not only did I learn on the pitch but it gave me an important glimpse of what it would be like to be an England international. It made me what to achieve my dream even more. I’d like to thank the school for this amazing opportunity and continued support and encouragement which I really appreciate.’