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Participant Focus: Ellie Desborough

20 January 2021

We were delighted to recently catch up with Ellie Desborough. Ellie was a previous member of our Girls Elite PDC in Cambridgeshire, before progressing to the Norwich WFC senior team.

We caught up with Ellie on her journey in football so far:

How did you get into football?

A couple of girls from my class had grown up playing football. At the age of 9, the girls persuaded me to come along to an after-school training session with the boy's primary school team. After my first session, I knew it was something I wanted to continue to do so I worked hard in training and I got picked for the team.

What was your journey in football since starting?

Once I began training with the primary school team and I enjoyed it, I joined a local girls' team, Soham Town Rangers. I spent 2 seasons there where I focused on getting better and enjoying playing. It allowed me to make new friends while playing with girls from my school.

As the team began to fold, I knew it was time for a new opportunity. I moved to Newmarket Town Girls. I stayed at the club until I was 14. Within this time, I was given the opportunity to captain the side. It helped me to grow in confidence and gave me a new role within the team. I played against new teams who were very good and every week was a challenge but it was a great opportunity to learn a lot more. 

From the age of 14-16, I played for Isleham United girls. I moved to this team so I could get the chance to play with my friends I went to secondary school with. We reached a cup final and came second in the league.

When I was 14, I trialled with Norwich RDP in Cambridgeshire for the U15 team. After 2 weeks of trial sessions, I found out I was successful and got a place on the team. I met new friends and was learning from the best coaches in the area. I was constantly improving and gained lots of experience.

When it got close to the end of the season, I knew I wanted to stay, so I made sure I worked extra hard to keep my place for the U16s team. Luckily, I did. I was given the opportunity to captain on match days and it allowed me to gain even more confidence.

How have you found the Norwich pathway, from junior to senior?

Just after I turned 16, I was contacted and asked if I wanted to trial for Norwich City Women. Of course, this was something I could not turn down. A couple of weeks later, I was asked to sign and I was over the moon!

My first few months, I found it tough because Ladies football was a huge step up from U16s.  The football was much faster and the opponents were a lot stronger. However, I had all the support and backing from both Norwich teams and it was a real confidence booster for me.

I was playing on Saturdays with Isleham and Sundays for Norwich City Women, as well as studying for my GCSEs and balancing all my training on each night. It wasn't easy but I was lucky to have had the support from all the coaching teams around me and I was constantly given advice on how to improve my game, within both teams. The RDP supported my step up into women's football fully and it was amazing.  I've always been grateful for all the opportunities the RDP has given me.

What is it like to play for Norwich WFC? 

Norwich City WFC is a great club to play for. The coaching team is fantastic and are always helping you improve, whether it be with your strength and conditioning or your technical play. The players in the team are constantly pushing each other to get better. The older players support and use their experience to help the younger ones on the team. Wearing the badge on my chest each week is an amazing feeling.

What are your future ambitions?

I want to continue to improve the way I play and keep pushing to become a better player so that I can play at the highest level possible. Education has always been important to me and I'm currently looking to study sport and exercise psychology at university.

If you had one message for young female footballers, what would it be?

My message would be to make sure you don't compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone is on their own journey within the game, don't copy or think that you should do the same as someone else. Follow your path.

We are extremely proud of Ellie's progress and successes so far, and we are delighted to have been able to play a part in Ellie's development.

To find out more about our girl's football development pathway, contact:

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