NORTH Yorkshire Girls’ Centre of Excellence quartet Sophie Stamp, Ellie Wilkinson, Jemma Purfield and Chloe Macek have all earned England call-ups.
Stamp, Wilkinson and Purfield have been recognised by their country at under-17 level, while Macek has caught the eye of the U15 selectors.
The girls all train and play for the York College-based centre that now runs age groups from under-nine upwards.
Performing under the watchful eye of technical director Gordon Staniforth and centre manager Gail Colling, all the players enjoy full access to the college’s equipment, facilities and medical support.
Stamp has particularly benefited in the latter respect, having been sidelined for her first year with the centre after having an operation on her knee due to inflammation of the fat pad.
She was actually successful in a trial at York College despite being injured and playing through the pain barrier after the Hull Centre of Excellence she previously attended was shut down.
The former Hessle and Cottingham Rangers player then managed a two-times-a-week 100 per cent attendance record at the centre despite being unable to kick a ball.
Travelling in to help her rehabilitation and receive treatment, Stamp’s dedication has now been rewarded with the highest honour possible – an England call-up.
“It’s been hard fitness-wise but I’ve got there slowly,” Stamp said of her journey from college crock to potential England international.
“Gordon and Gail have helped me a lot. They are the best coaches I’ve ever had.
“It would mean everything to represent my country and I would be following in my father’s footsteps because he played hockey for England.”
Stamp is hoping to figure in a friendly against Wales next month when she could be lining up alongside her former Cottingham and Hessle team-mate Wilkinson, who also hails from Hull and, like Purfield, has played for England in the past.
On her selection for the national squad, Wilkinson said: “It’s a great honour and you cannot go any higher than representing your country in football. The Centre of Excellence at York has put me forward for this chance and I would not be there without them.”
York-based Macek, who played for a boys’ academy from the age of five when she lived in Cyprus earlier in her life, has made the Three Lionesses’ U15 squad and added: “Playing for England is all I’ve wanted to do ever since I started playing football. The centre has helped me massively because of all the facilities and physios we get access to.”