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Connie's journey from RTC to First Team

Hopefully the girls coming through the RTC now can look at us and think that it is possible to play for the first team.

Connie Scofield

Connie Scofield is dubbed Iniesta by her team mates for her tika taka approach to playing football in the middle of the park.

From Spanish football to home roots, the 20-year old is also a Birmingham baby having worked her way through the club’s very own Regional Talent Club and establishing herself into the first team.

Her love of football is evident to see, on and off the pitch, and is entering into her 12th year at the club. But she started her footballing journey with her local grass roots club and Blues Women sister club Halas Hawks.

She said: “I just loved football, even when I was a child. One of my best friends at school played for a team called Halas Hawks at the time and I really wanted to be a part of a football team. I started out with a girls’ team and then after a month or so they said that I just be playing for the boys’ side.

“David Beckham was a big role model for me, particularly at the start and I just wanted to be like him.”

Scofield joined Blues at just nine-years-old and followed a route that was trodden by one of her inspirations and another local heroine, Blues captain Kerys Harrop.

She said: “My mom’s friend told her about these trials for Birmingham and so I started from the Under-10’s. The Regional Talent Club (RTC) was a big part of my life and I played in all of the age groups. It developed me a lot into the player that I am today.

“Progressing into the first team was always a dream of mine and now it’s really nice to see how far I’ve come, having gone through the whole RTC and to be playing in the first team with Kez [Kerys Harrop] who I used to see as a role model. To be playing with her now is really nice.”

She also hopes that her journey will inspire the next generation of girls that will be following in her path.

“Hopefully the girls coming through the RTC now can look at us and think that it is possible to play for the first team,” she said.

“If they want to work hard and go through the age groups, one day they’ll get to the senior side.”

The 20-year-old also juggles her education with football. She is currently at university, which she balances alongside a full-time contract at Blues in order to complete her education for life beyond football.

She said: “It’s a bit challenging. I’ve got a lot of Uni work to do and I miss quite a lot of lectures, but I can catch up them up at home. I’m really enjoying my course, but I also really love football, so it’s great that I get to do both.”

However the growth of women’s football has allowed the midfielder to make football her job, which hasn’t always been the case for footballers over the years. In recent times, the FA have made the Barclays Women’s Super League a fully professional division which has allowed players like Scofield to make her dream become a reality.

She said: “Being able to do the thing you love as a job is such a great feeling. I don’t think you can call it a job really.

“When I was younger, I always wanted to be a footballer, but I didn’t distinguish whether it was going to be for a men’s or women’s team, it was just about playing football.

“Then as I was getting older, I thought that I might not get enough money from just playing but now the women’s game is developing.”

Scofield believes that women’s football is on the rise, which is clear to see but in England there is still progression needed.

She said: “I was reading in the newspaper that in one of Barcelona women team’s games they got a crowd of 66,000 and I think that if we can get the same numbers, and the media coverage and promotion there is so much opportunity for growth. It’s big at the moment but there’s still a long way to go in the grand scheme of things.”

The midfielder made her first league start of the season against Arsenal in away from home. Coming in for the injured Marisa Ewers, she slotted into the team like glove. Although the result didn’t go Blues’ way, losing 3-1, it was an experience she’ll never forget.

She said: “Marc [Skinner] told me the day before that I was going to be starting. I was really up for the game and obviously nervous, but I just wanted to do the best I could to help the team and get the three points. At the time, Arsenal were top of the league and we were second.”

Things were only going to get better for the rising star as two weeks later she scored her first senior goal for the club. Blues were 1-0 up against Liverpool, when they broke through the middle of the park. Lucy Staniforth played in Scofield, who looked up with composure and cooly curled a left-footed shot around the despairing Anke Press to double the score.

Scofield said: “To be honest, I was buzzing about it. I just thought I’d have a shot and I remember before the game my brother said to me, ‘Connie if you score dedicate it to me.’ And I was thinking, ‘ha ha, good one Joe, I’ll do that.’ Then as soon as I hit the ball, even before it hit the back of the net, Lucy Stan [Staniforth] had jumped on me already. The whole moment was merged into massive craziness. I couldn’t believe I had actually scored; it was a bit surreal.”

As well as making a name for herself at club level, she has also represented England through the age groups. One of the proudest moments of her career to date is playing in the Under-17’s Women’s World Cup.

She said: “A standout moment for me was when I was playing in the Under-17’s World Cup and I remember before the tournament I hadn’t really been in the previous camps, so I didn’t really expect to play. I managed to get quite a few starts and worked my way into the team.

“We were playing Japan in the quarter-finals and I remember before the game the whole starting 11 were listening to this really good Coldplay song and I felt a massive togetherness. That was a really proud moment.”

Looking ahead to the new campaign, Scofield would like to establish herself as a valuable part of Marta Tejedor’s side and is looking ahead to bright things with England.

She said: “For Blues, I’d really like to be pushing for some more starts and trying to make myself a valuable player of the team. I would like to establish myself in the starting line-up especially. I think just giving my best at club level to help me see what comes of England.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on getting selected for England and then if I do then that’s fantastic news. When I do get the call up, I just want to do what I do at club and work hard. Hopefully in the future, one day I’d love to play for the seniors.”

Watch Connie and the rest of Blues Women in action against Everton on Sunday 8 September at Solihull Moors FC when the FA Barclays Women’s Super League returns.

Tickets are available here.

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