Two products of the Girls Centre of Excellence at Gillingham FC recently made their debut for the Ladies team

Sunday saw Lydia Wills and Madison North make their debut for the Gillingham Ladies first team when they faced Herne Bay Ladies in the semi-final of the Kent FA Women’s Cup.

Lydia and Madison both currently play for our U17s at the Girls Centre of Excellence and are also based at the club full-time with the Girls Academy.

Both girls have already made their debut for the reserves this season, with Lydia scoring her first goal last week against Bedford Ladies FC, and are thoroughly enjoying the challenge of the Ladies game.

The academy players are coached by Gills Legend Simon Ratcliffe, who is also the manager of Gillingham Ladies, while the Ladies Reserve team manager is Jason Wright, who is also the Assistant Manager of our U17s at the Centre, so the playrs throughout the programme have a number of familiar faces.

The Ladies also has a number of COE graduates within the squad, three of whom, Hollie Musmeci, Georgia Reece and Kiera Daulby, are also at the Academy with Lydia and Madison, so the step up is less daunting as they are playing alongside players who they have known through the Centre.

Laurel Collins, also of the Centre and Academy, has made the step up to the reserves but is unfortunately carrying a knock at the moment so wasn’t able to be involved in the game on Sunday.    

Ratcliffe said: “I’m very pleased with their progress and they are a real credit to the Centre of Excellence and the staff at the Centre. We now have three members of the Academy, along with Georgia Reece, who have made the step up to the First Team and I am delighted with their development and we are looking forward to seeing more players moving into the Ladies team.”

U17s Manager Pete Sayer added: “It’s been great to see the girls continue their development with the Academy and now the Ladies team, alongside their Centre football, and it has really benefited their development both physically and mentally.

“With all our second year U17s, once they turn 16, we are looking to introduce them to the adult game and Simon, Jason and myself talk regularly about the players, their development and how best to do this. Everyone at the Centre is very proud of the girls and their achievements.”

Click here to read the full interview with Lydia Wills on She Kicks.

Click here for more information regarding our Girls Academy.

For further information regarding any of our female development programmes and community activities please email or 01634 350125.