Keira Walsh: FA Tesco Skills realised my football dreams

Tuesday 28 Jan 2014
Keira Walsh attempts a volley against Italy

Keira Walsh has already crammed a lot in to her short but promising football career.

The England Under-17s vice-captain has already played in an FA Youth Cup final against Arsenal and represented her country at a European Championships.

But while she ponders a bright future with Blackburn Rovers and the The Lionesses – she can also reflect on a meteoric rise that started at an FA Tesco Skills Centre.

Keira had just turned 11 when she started attending the FA Tesco Skills Centre at Kingsway Park High School.

During these sessions Keira was able to continue developing her technique and decision-making and soon after she was invited for trials at Blackburn Rovers Girls’ Centre of Excellence.

Since signing for Blackburn in 2008, Keira’s performances earned a call into the England Under-15's squad, where she continued to develop under head coach Kay Cossington.

This brought Keira the international experience she was craving, and she has since gone on to play against some of the world best female sides including the USA, Spain and Norway.

Keira has continued to develop her game in central midfield, where she likes to dictate play and showcase her goalscoring attributes.

In November 2013 she was named in the England squad for the UEFA Women's Under-17s Championships as they prepared for a tough group against Italy, Austria and Portugal.

Keira’s performances helped England through to the knockout stages, and to a fourth-place finish in the competition.

Keira’s journey has been exciting to follow, but she has not forgotten where she has come from. In January Keira has offered to come and support The FA Tesco Skills Centre at Rochdale, helping to develop the budding youngsters, and pass on her experience.

She said: “The Skills Programme provided me with the environment to practice my skills, and gave me the encouragement to try to be the best player I can possibly be.”

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By James Callow Content manager