Two years ago, Jade Elliot became the first ever female to join the EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme. Jade’s efforts have since inspired over 100 other girls to follow suit as women’s involvement in sport continues grow.
At the age of 17 Jade, from Clayton Brook, near Chorley, became the first girl to hold down a place with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, in an otherwise all male team on the Futsal and Education programme.
She explains that being the only girl was an obstacle she had to overcome to do something she loves.
“It was hard at first being the only girl as I had no one to talk to. I faced a lot of barriers but didn’t let anything stop me and eventually the barriers were broken down. I always use the quote ‘Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”
Since Jade started the course, there are now 16 girls playing on the male programme, and last year a girls only programme was introduced with approximately 85 female players taking part.
She continued: “I’m very proud to of been the first girl on the programme as it opened up massive pathways for females in my area. There are more opportunities for girls in sport now than ever before. It’s great to see the figures continually growing.”
Jade’s interest in sport began when she was inspired by her older sister Jasmine, who was a goalkeeper for England’s U-18 national team.
From the age of eight, Jade played at grassroots level for Euxton Girls and moved onto playing at academy level for Blackburn Rovers from U-10’s to U14’s. After this, she shifted her focus to futsal and coaching.
Whilst on the course, Jade sparked an interest in coaching after she was influenced by her then coaches Darren Finch and Chris McGrail, a former professional footballer for Preston North End. She has since completed her FA Level 1 coaching badge and has almost finished her Level 2.
“ I really wanted to get into coaching after watching them [Darren and Chris] and their different styles. The have both helped me with my badges and after completing my FA level 2 coaching badge, I am hoping to move on to get my UEFA B next year.”
Aside from her studies, Jade has been the driving force in helping to involve more young people on the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust NCS Programme and is involved in volunteering to help deliver football coaching to young players in the community.
“For me, right now, there’s nothing better than coaching. Helping with the grassroots game at the moment is great as it’s like I’m giving something back from where I came from.”
Looking to the future, after recently completing the Futsal and Education programme and achieving top grades, she hopes to develop even further down the coaching route from grassroots all the way to elite level.
She concluded: “At the moment I want to continue coaching within the community and working on the NCS programme. My dream is to one day be involved in the England Women’s national team set up as a coach.”
To find out more about the EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme visit – www.efltrust.com/futsal/