Demi Stokes says time in USA made her a better player

Tuesday 10 Feb 2015
Demi Stokes has represented England at U19s, U20s, U23s and senior level

As England prepare to entertain USA at MK Dons on Friday, Three Lions left-back Demi Stokes has explained how a four-year stint across the pond has made her a better player.

The 23-year-old from South Shields moved to America in 2011 after signing up to a four-year scholarship at the University of South Florida, where she recently attained a degree in general studies with a minor in leadership.

In 2012, Stokes played for Canada's Vancouver Whitecaps before continuing her career with her college side, South Florida Bulls.

England v USA

A Women's International
8pm, Friday 13 February
stadium:mk, MK Dons FC
Tickets are priced £5 adults, £2.50 children
Call 0333 200 5343 or visit MK Dons site

Stokes played in a more advanced position for her university team than she does for her country, and is the sixth highest scorer in University of South Florida history with 17 goals.

She moved to FA WSL 1 side Manchester City at the beginning of the year and she believes her time in the States will stand her in good stead as she looks to kick on back in England.

Stokes said: "Part of the reason I went to America was to make me a better player.

"The standard of the league we were in and the opposition we came up against were very good. There were constant matches so you always had to be sharp and ready to play.

"It was challenging for sure but the intensity of the league definitely helped improve me as a footballer."

Stokes enjoyed a distinguished few years in the England youth team set-up and she was a part of Mo Marley’s U19s squad that won the European Championship in Belarus in 2009.

She earned her maiden call-up to the senior team for Mark Sampson’s first match in charge last January, a 1-1 draw with Norway in La Manga.

Demi Stokes in action for England

Demi Stokes in action for England last year

Stokes has turned out for the seniors nine more times, scoring her first goal in the 9-0 rout of Montenegro in April.

She was a member of a defence that only conceded one goal in ten World Cup qualifiers – and she recently joined up at City with three of that stubborn England back five.

Stokes added: “The biggest factor for me in signing for Manchester City was thinking about the other players I would be around.

"Certainly playing with Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze and Toni Duggan week-in, week-out is going to be a big thing for me.

“When you get interested in football, you instantly start to dream about playing for your country and going to a World Cup”

Demi Stokes 

"It's amazing how the women's game has grown and the support it has received is helping that go forward."

England host FIFA’s top-ranked side at stadium:mk in the Lionesses’ first match of 2015.

They will then compete in the annual Cyprus Cup in March before another home friendly in April, as preparations for the World Cup really start to hot up – and it’s a tournament Stokes is hoping to be a part of.

She said: "It obviously would be a dream to play in the World Cup, especially given that it’s being hosted out in Canada where I used to live.

"When you get interested in football, you instantly start to dream about playing for your country and going to a World Cup.

"To even be in contention for the squad is a hugely exciting thought."

Tickets for the USA match are priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. A family ticket (two adults and two children) is available at £10 and group booking discounts apply.

Buy online now.

By Glenn Lavery at St. George's Park