HOLLIE OLDING had the honour of playing for England’s under-17 women in a friendly gainst Germany.
The Chichester 15-year-old was in the starting XI for the game at St George’s Park, the FA’s new national football centre.
The Brighton & Hove Albion women’s centre of excellence player was at St George’s Park as part of a three-day training camp, with fellow Seagulls player Natalie Taylor also selected and their club-mate Amelia Ritchie put on standby.
Olding said: “It was very unexpected because I wanted it for so long and I thought it was never going to come. When I got the call I just couldn’t believe it – it was brilliant.
“Putting on the England shirt was probably the best thing about the camp, but everything leading up to the match was amazing, including all the training sessions and being able to meet new people.
“Having Natalie with me helped a lot, because we didn’t know anyone there and we made a lot of new friends.”
Olding attended East Wittering Primary School and is now in Year 11 at Chichester High School for Girls.
She has been playing football club football since the age of eight, initially playing for Bognor Regis Town’s boys’ under-ten team, for whom she was the only girl in the league.
Olding spent school holidays attending Pompey Football in the Community courses and she now volunteers with PITC.
At the age of 11, she was no longer permitted to play with the boys and had a successful trial for Brighton’s centre of excellence, where she has been playing ever since. Last year Olding was captain of the under-15 girls.
One of only 31 FA licensed centres in England, the centre of excellence offers a programme which gives opportunities for female players from under-nine up to under-17 age groups.
The Brighton centre identifies and recruits female players of outstanding ability and aims to help them reach their potential and produce a steady stream of world-class female players.
For further information on the Brighton centre of excellence, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01273 878228 or visit www.seagulls.co.uk/team/women-and-girls/centreofexcellence.aspx