England Colleges teams relish international football opportunity in Rome
27th February 2020
The England Colleges squads are back on home soil after a week in Italy competing in international football and creating lifelong memories along the way. Whilst Keith Boanas’ women’s team didn’t manage to retain their ‘Il Cacio E Rosa’ trophy from the inaugural tournament in 2019, the squad had a strong tournament against a solid field of opposition. They played Italian sides Grifone Gialloverde and Abruzzo as well as Moldova, scoring 14 goals in total and only conceding three. The ECFA side easily beat Grifone Gialloverde 7-1 in the opening game of the tour. They led 4-1 at the break with a brace from Eve Blakey, Caitlin Chapman and Jenny Hesketh with the pick of the goals. In the second half ECFA extended their lead courtesy of Jess Hood, Abbey Hateley and Katie Godden. Joint player of the match awards went to Hesketh and Megan Farrell. The second match also finished with a comfortable 6-1 victory against Abruzzo. Leading 2-1 at half-time thanks to Mia Adaway and Hannah Coote, substitute Eve Blakey added two further goals, including a penalty. Katie Godden and Abbey Hateley rounded off the scoring on an excellent day for England Colleges. Player of the match was awarded to Katie Godden. The final group game encounter against Moldova on the penultimate day of the tournament was the most challenging yet. However, the England side acquitted themselves extremely well against a much older side who were well drilled. The players fought well for every ball before conceding a late free-kick and going down 1-0 to the Moldovans. Grace Ayre, ECFA captain, was awarded player of the match. In the women’s tournament final Moldova played Kosovo, winners of the adjacent group, and the game finished 3-1 in Kosovo’s favour. Maisy Collis of SGS College was awarded women’s player of the tournament.
ReflectionsHead Coach Keith Boanas said: “The girls were incredible up against the new rules of the competition where every team had players in their twenties. The Moldovans fielded a team with 10 players from the age of 22, including two of the maximum age of 25. “However, the players’ self-belief, attitude and approach never changed individually and collectively. Proud is a massive understatement.
“Without doubt this group have grown over the year and this trip created a special bond that will live long in the memory and enhance their careers."“They, as are all of the staff, are more than grateful that the ECFA has provided this unique opportunity to experience this type of competition.” Jenny Hesketh, of Newcastle Stafford College Group, added: “The week in Italy has been amazing and definitely one to remember. Thank you to the ECFA and all the coaches for the opportunity to be involved and for all the time and hard work that has gone into making the tour happen.”