We catch up with Gills keeper, Katie Startup about her trip to the USA with England.

Gillingham FC U17 Goalkeeper, Katie Startup has recently returned from an Invitational Tournament in the USA with the England U17s.

The squad spent 10 days in Los Angeles at the StubHub Centre and while out there had the opportunity to play the USA, Japan and South Korea.

Katie said “It was a great experience and one I really enjoyed. We don’t normally have as long together and it was nice to have three days training before playing our first fixture, particularly as the first day we were all a bit jet lagged. It also helped us get use to the heat, as it was very hot out there and not something we’ve ever really experienced, the first two sessions were really hard but we got used to it.” 

“It was difficult playing in the heat at first, when we played South Korea it was midday, over 30 degrees and boiling. Thankfully we were given water breaks half way between each half, which really helped and also gave us an opportunity to go over tactics.”

The squad arrived back at Heathrow on the Wednesday morning and Katie couldn’t resist heading off to training that evening with the Gills to take part in final preparations for their fixture on the Saturday.

Katie will soon be meeting back up with her England team mates as they attend a training camp at St George’s Park later this month, while there the girls will play a local boys academy team, which is something the team have done before.  

Katie added “I’ve really enjoyed playing fixtures against the boys teams in the past, it’s something I’ve done with England and the Gills this season. The fixtures are more physical, faster and stronger and haVE been a great experience for both squads. At first I don’t think the boys are expecting anything from us but from the kick off we get stuck in and they soon realise they’ve got a game on their hands. It’s been great to show the boys and parents just how far the girls game has come and we’ve had really positive feedback from their coaches.”         

Female Football Development Officer and Centre manager, Georgia Bowie said “We’re extremely proud of Katie and her achievements with England she is a brilliant role model to the younger girls at the Centre of Excellence and is very level headed. Katie has demonstrated that hard work and motivation does and will pay off. Katie is an extremely focused young athlete being first to arrive and last to leave training but she will also arrive even earlier to help and work with the younger age groups at the Centre, a quality that we very much admire about her, as she confidently and proudly passes on her knowledge of her past experiences with England training camps and matches.” 

“As always everyone at Gillingham wishes her every success in all of her future footballing endeavours and will be supporting her along the way.”