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England footballer from Cumbria appeals for travel help

Blackburn Rovers Kelsey Pearson

[A] TALENTED young ladies footballer who plays for Blackburn Rovers and England is appealing for sponsorship help.

Kelsey Pearson, 17, started football 10 years ago as the only girl at Milnthorpe Boys U8s but has progressed to win a Premier League medal with Blackburn Rovers ladies last season and to represent England in America, Europe and the Middle East.

The highly-rated defender said: “I’m proud to be from Cumbria and play for Blackburn Rovers and England. I’m looking forward to representing my country again in next year’s U19 Euros in Switzerland next year.”

Just last season, the talented teenager won her first ever FA Women’s Premier League winner’s medal with Blackburn. The club play and train at Ewood Park, where Kelsey is one of the youngest members of the squad but a regular in the side.

The club is one of only 13 FA ‘Tier One’ Regional Talent Clubs for women in England, and the nearest to Cumbria for Kelsey, who has just learned to drive ahead of her 18th birthday on 10th October 2017.

Unlike the men’s game, in order to continue training at the highest level, Kelsey has to fund the expensive petrol costs involved in the 100-mile round trip to and from her home in Flookburgh, as well as the expensive insurance premiums faced by young teenage drivers.

Kelsey’s dad Jamie, from Oxenholme, said: “The difference in funding between the men and women’s game is huge so if you want to play football at the highest level, being from Cumbria involves lots of long car journeys and we have driven Kelsey all over the country.

“Now she has passed her driving test and is seeking her own independence, there is no help for transport costs – even for a young England international.

“We would appeal to any local sponsor to come forward and help. Kelsey is only 17 but is a regular for Blackburn and England with a big future in the game,” said Jamie.

Kelsey grew up in Kendal and then went to school in Cartmel. She started playing for Milnthorpe Boys U8s because there was no girls teams back then.

Kelsey won over the boys with her battling displays and picked up player of the year awards and was spotted by Cumbria’s then centre of excellence.

She progressed into the women’s game in the U14/15 Blackpool Ladies side in the West Lancashire League, where she was named manager’s player of the year and player’s player of the year at Bloomfield Road.

At the age of 15, she successfully trialled for the Blackburn Rovers’ centre of excellence and was delighted to be selected for the U17s squad, breaking into the first team in 2015-16.

Kelsey Pearson in action for England

As well as winning an award, she was scouted by England and invited to its U17 training camp at St George’s Park national football centre in Staffordshire, rubbing shoulders with the top young female players from across the country.

While in California preparing for last year’s UEFA Women’s U17s Euros in Belarus, Kelsey was bowled over to meet Liverpool and England legend Steven Gerrard. The young Lionesses received a bronze medal as England finished third in the Euros.

Kelsey also qualified for the 2016 Fifa Women’s U17s World Cup in Jordan, where the young Lionesses reached the quarterfinals, being featured regularly on Eurosport.

Her sights are now set on continuing her success this season with Blackburn Rovers ladies, where she is one of the team’s youngest players, and doing well for England in Switzerland next year.

For more information or to help with sponsorship, contact Jamie Pearson on 0776 487 9545

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