England Lionesses goalkeeper Mary Earps has become a big supporter of Beeston FC’s female footballers – and donated one of her shirts to the club’s young players.
Mary, who plays for the top European side, Wolfsburg, in Germany, is a fantastic advocate of girls’ football.
Beeston Wildcats for girls aged 4-13 years launches on April 1, for 16 weeks. Find out more and reserve your place. CLICK HERE... All abilities welcome.
Just back from the SheBelieves Cup competition, in which The Lionesses beat Japan and Brazil and drew with the United States to win the tournament, Mary has sent Beeston FC one of her shirts.
“She is such an amazing role model,” said Paul Harrison, Beeston FC coach and parent-volunteer, who established the club’s connection with Mary.
The respect is mutual. Beeston FC players and parents blitzed a Facebook Live session Mary organised earlier this year to speak to young female players.
The England international was so impressed by the number and quality of questions coming from Beeston that she sent a prize for the best one. A presentation will be made in the coming week.
“When she was little Mary played on the same playing fields around Nottingham that our girls play on,” said Paul. “And while she is now one of the best keepers in Europe she still makes time for clubs like ours and wants our girls to be the best they can. It’s brilliant.”
Beeston FC launched a girls' football programme as part of the FA's Wildcats scheme last year. Now, the club has 50 girls playing football in the u7, u9, u11 and u13 age groups.
Beeston will host the FA scheme again this year, starting on April 1. For more information and to reserve a place CLICK HERE...
Mary first turned out for West Bridgford Colts under 10s, but steadily rose through the footballing ranks, playing at Leicester City, Nottingham Forest, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Birmingham City, Bristol Academy and Reading, before joining Wolfsburg.
"I started playing football in my back garden with my brother and my dad, as probably most girls did. I watched them and wanted to join in," Mary, who is from West Bridgford, told BBC Sport last year.
"Then I went down to my brother's training sessions, because there were not a lot of local [female] teams around. I trained with my brother's team and then I got to an age when I had to go to an all-girls team.
"In the first game that I played with West Bridgford Colts, we were rotating keepers and I went in goal for a stint - I saved a penalty and I never came out of goal after that.
"That was it then, from that moment on, I just wanted to be in that position - a goalkeeper."
Paull added: “We are so grateful to Mary for taking an interest in our club and encouraging our players. She is a great person and we would love it if as many people as possible in Beeston showed her some support and follow her on social media.”
Follow Mary on Twitter and Facebook
Updated 13:15 - 18 Mar 2019 by Charlie Walker