10 January 2018
A teenager from Foundation of Light’s Ladies Scholarship programme made her debut for England Women’s Under 17s against Japan recently.
Sixteen-year-old Jael, a former Sunderland Regional Talent Club graduate, played the full 90 minutes in a behind-closed-doors friendly at St George’s Park.
Being selected for the Lionesses rounded off an amazing December for the youngster, who was part of the Scholars side who won the inaugural NFYL U19 Ladies Tournament.
The facilities at St George’s Park were top class. [Playing against Japan] was different compared to what I’m used to. It was very technical, very fast.
Jetting out to another training camp this Sunday, Jael will be hoping to cement her place in the Lionesses squad ahead of the UEFA European Women’s Under 17 Championship Elite Round Qualifiers which begin in March.
She added: “We play European champions Germany in Salou which will be a massive test. They have some of the best youth teams and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Kicking off her football journey with boys’ side Soccerena before moving to the Sunderland RTC, Jael is enjoying the challenging environment of the Football Scholarship and hopes to break into the professional game in the future.
Scholars Ladies coach Steve McClarence, said: “It’s been a really good opportunity for Jael, one she’s worked really hard for. It hasn’t been easy, but she’s come through, made the last camp and been invited to the next camp. She’s doing brilliantly.
“She’s progressed really well and now we’re looking for her to make the next step with her club football and internationally to push on and make the left-back spot her own.”
The Foundation’s Football Scholarship programme gives youngsters aged 16-19 the opportunity to represent Sunderland AFC against some of the country’s top development sides as well as gaining nationally recognised qualifications.
“Jael is a great example of the Scholarship developing people as well as footballers and that’s important,” added Claire Robinson, Sunderland RTC Technical Director and Scholarship coach. “The evidence of players such as Jael, Emily who is on standby for the England camp and Maria who is a Malta international, showcases the quality within the programme.
“The aim of the Scholarship is to keep striving forward and being the best in the North East and make sure the opportunities are there to develop our students both on the pitch and within their education.”
To find out more about the Football Scholarship programme, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 5515191.