One of the driving forces behind the emergence of St Ives as a hotbed of female footballing talent believes a new link-up could lead to a host of players from this area challenging for international honours.
Darren Marjoram, a highly-respected coach and Football Association mentor, is confident that St Ives Town and St Ives Rangers joining forces will lead to a bright future for local talents.
Marjoram is the lead coach of the Rangers club which currently has a girls’ team at every age group from Under 9 to Under 16. Eleven of their players are part of the FA Girls’ England Elite Talent Pathway, while Katherine Speed has featured in England training camps at Under 15 level.
Many St Ives Rangers aces have also experienced national and British Isles success with the St Ivo School teams.
Marjoram is also the manager of the Town senior women’s side, which was formed two years ago and will now be complimented by another adult development team from next season.
The link between the two clubs means talented Rangers girls can access extra training and games to give them further development opportunities with boys’ teams, who will be playing at local and regional levels.
Marjoram said: “Not only do we have a high number of female players in the St Ives area, we are also blessed with high quality.
“We also have recent experience to show we know how to develop elite level female footballers.
“Katherine has been playing her football at St Ives Rangers for many years. After being discovered during a training session at the club, she was invited to join the Cambs FA Advanced Coaching Centre.
“This led to her being selected for England Women’s Under 15 training camps where she was rubbing shoulders with players from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.
“It is hoped that there will now be many more players following in Katherine’s footsteps and that we eventually see a player representing England at full international level after coming through the St Ives system.
“Staff within the FA Girls’ England Elite Talent Pathway are already aware of the new opportunities in St Ives and will closely monitor the progress of these talented players.”
The best known female footballer from this area is Carla Humphrey. The 20-year-old, from Brampton, is an England international in several age groups and a member of the Arsenal Ladies squad.