The Staffordshire SFA will be holding their county trials for their six County sides in the first couple of weeks in July.
Under 14, 15 , 16 and 18 Boys and Under 14 and 16 Girls. Any player of the required standard is eligible to trial but the nomination has to come from the school that potential players attend. Nomination forms will be in schools next week.
Many girls are missed or not nominated because their school does not run a team or play football in schools so it is very important that parents inform the school so that the most talented players do not miss out on the opportunity to play for their County.
Players who represented the County this year are not required to attend the first trials as the management know of their capabilities but they will need to be at the second sesssion.
Two strikes by Shania Hales from DE Ferrers Academy ensured that Staffordshire Under 16 Girls lifted the ESFA Inter County Trophy for the first time in their history, after an epic battle with Somerset Schools at St Andrews.
Staffordshire started the game strongly and Shania Hales and Harriet Wellings both went close early with the strong direct running of Hannah Hampton causing panic in the Somerset rearguard. Early corners for Staffordshire led to nothing and Somerset eventually got a foothold in the game and some slack marking gave them a chance which was spurned. The back four of Staffordshire restricted Somerset whilst at the other end prompting from Phoebe Warner and skipper Anna King kept the pressure on and only a stunning one handed save by the Somerset keeper kept the scoreline goaless.
A great corner was spilled but Staffordshire could not capitailse whilst centre backs Molly Bruton and Alex Buck blunted the cutting edge of the Somerset attacks with some strong defending. On a big pitch manager Kieran Newey used the substitutes well introducing Lana Titley, Lydia Burgess and Charlotte Jarvis to add fresh legs, enabling the high tempo to be maintained. Half time 0-0
Somerset started the second half well and asked Staffordshire more questions and although Staffordshire still presented a threat only stout defending kept the scores level. Goalkeeper Charlotte Clarke produced two magnificent saves to keep the scores evenl and despite Beth Roberts and Tasia Brough's pace on the flanks Staffordshire had begun to creak. The defining moment came with 15 minutes left. Staffordshire attacked, a mazy dribble and cut back from Shania Hales to Ellie Bruton saw a despairing tackle block her shot and the Somerset clearance found Staffordshire wanting and this time a brilliant save from Charlotte Clarke was hacked clear and the action shifted to the Somerset half.
Hannah Hampton cut inside opened up her body and struck a great shot the keeper could only parry and the predatory Hales picked up the loose ball rounded the keeper and fired home. The game opened up as Somerset went in search of an equaliser but the defining moment occurre six minutes from time. Both teams had changed their goalkeepers in the later stages of the game and whilst Staffordshire keeper Tiff Whelan was secure the Somerset keeper miscontrolled a back pass and Shania Hales snapped up the opportunity to clip the ball past her and into an empty net.
The girls from both teams were running on empty such had been their commitment and the introduction of Katie Jones, Harriet Welling and Tasia Brough gave fresh impetus to the team. Despite Somerset pulling a goal back from a corner and one or two nervous moment Staffordhire were able to see the game out and Anna King lifted the trophy to bring to an end an amazing season for the girls.
Somerset pushed Staffordshire every step of the way and deserve great credit for being part of a fabulous advert for girls footbal at County level.
@staffsschoolsfa will allow all to follow what is going on and will supplement the information available on the website.
Follow the account which is being run by Under 15 team Manager Bailey Evans.