Gillingham FC Girls Centre of Excellence Goalkeeper Katie Startup recalls her time away with the England U15 National sideThe end of May was a busy time for one of our International players at the Girls Centre of Excellence, with Katie Startup being selected for the England U15 squad.
Katie joined the U15’s on their week-long trip to Huizen, just east of Amsterdam for two friendly fixtures against the Netherlands.
Having established herself as a regular in the international setup over the last 18 months, Katie was one of three goalkeepers in the England U15 squad that flew out of Heathrow to Amsterdam on May 25.
The first full day in Holland saw the squad warm-up with the Sports Scientist, before Katie and her fellow goalkeepers, who play their club football at Liverpool and Sheffield United respectively, went to work with the goalkeeper coach, which was then followed by an extended pool recovery session, ice baths, and a team meeting.
Tuesday’s training session focused on the goalkeepers working on defending attacks from wide areas in the morning, followed by a lighter session after lunch where the whole squad worked on player roles and positioning.
The day ended with a pool session before an evening meal and a team briefing on the schedule and preparation for the first friendly against Holland the following day.
The starting XI was announced before breakfast on Wednesday, with Katie unfortunately missing out, however England’s girls cruised to a 3-0 win.
Thursday consisted of some analysis work to assess Holland’s strengths and weaknesses, before heading out on to the training pitch to work on some practical play.
Friday’s second fixture against the Dutch saw England’s Head Coach opt to go with the same XI that started Wednesday’s game, with another 3-0 win for England’s girls in front of a good crowd.
After the game the squad boarded the coach for the airport, before flying home at the end of a long, but very enjoyable week.
Upon her return we caught up with Katie to get some feedback on the week, in which the England keeper said:
“The whole week was extremely professional. Every morning we would get up at 9am and have various medical assessments before breakfast, and during the sessions in the build-up to the games the coaches analysed how we played and when required, stopped us to give improvements and reinforce tactical play covered on previous camps."
Katie added: “After the final fixture on the Friday we were given gifts from the Dutch national side which included a wrist band, pennant, pen, badge and more, which was a really nice touch. We also get to keep our England tracksuits and jersey.”