We have heard some great news about Olivia Owenson's recent football successes. Olivia is a Year 9 student at Stroud High and plays football at a county level for both Wiltshire Girls and Gloucestershire Schools.
Olivia played in the finals of the FA People's Cup at St George's Park (England training ground). This was a national event playing 5-a-side football across a range of categories. Olivia was in the U14 Girls category along with six of her friends from the Wiltshire County FA Advanced Coaching Centre. Six teams had made it through to the finals following two rounds of regional competition. Teams played each other and then the top four went through to semi-finals, with the winners playing in the final. In the round-robin, they drew their first match against Reading 1:1. The pitches were very small and took a bit of getting used to. Second game they won 5:1 against Hungate Rovers. Next was a 1:1 draw against Staffordshire Girls, and then a 2:1 win against Bolton Lionesses. Finally, they lost 1:0 against Stevenage Girls.
Although they lost their last match, they had done enough to get through to the semi-finals. They met Staffordshire again in the semis, and again drew 1:1, so it was penalties to decide the finalists. Wiltshire took some great spot-kicks and they won convincingly 4:2, making it all the way to the final.
In the final, they met Stevenage, who had beaten them earlier. Wiltshire had the best chances, hitting the post and the bar, and having some great shots saved. Stevenage also had some strikes, bringing saves from the Wiltshire keeper. Unfortunately, a lucky break resulted in the only goal of the match for Stevenage. Olivia and her Wiltshire Girls team were awarded runners-up silver medals - a fantastic achievement. The match was filmed by BBC and was streamed live on the BBC GetInspired website. It is currently also available on iPlayer.
Within days of her success with the Wiltshire Girls team, Olivia was playing for Gloucestershire Schools FA in the South West Counties Cup. They went in to the match not having lost in the competition and knowing that, if they won or drew, they would be crowned champions. The first half was a bit scrappy, but both teams were able to score, leaving the score 1:1 at half time. In the second half, Gloucestershire stepped up a gear and could have scored multiple times. In the end, they won 2:1 and were crowned the South-West County School Champions. Despite carrying an ankle injury and being a member of a squad of 18, Olivia was selected and played the full match. Despite having an injury, her determination (and the pleading of her team to stay on as she plays such a critical role in the team) saw her through.
A huge 'well done' to Olivia and all of her team mates from both teams from all of us at Stroud High!