This week on BBC iPlayer Jill Scott MBE returned home to her childhood grassroots football club Boldon CA Colts & Girls Youth in a special episode of We Are England - England's Next Lionesses.
Boldon CA Colts & Girls Youth was setup 30 years ago by Paul Smith, the club has had a high success rate in producing young talent who then goes on to play for the Lionesses, Jill Scott MBE, Steph Houghton and Demi Stokes all started their football journey playing for Boldon CA Colts & Girls Youth and ALL went on to become European Champions with the Lionesses.
Steph Houghton captained England for eight years, while both Scott and Stokes were part of the squad who won the Lionesses' first major trophy at Euro 2022.
In a very heartwarming film showed on BBC Jill returned to Boldon to revisit the club and talk about the beginning of her very impressive journey in girls football.
Jill mentions during the film how she struggled to find opportunities to play football as a child and that she feels 'I don't think I'd have went on to play for England without Paul' and that at the age of 9 year old she was told she couldn't play with the boys anymore and needed to find a Girls team. This is where the journey began and when Jill Scott MBE found Boldon CA Colts & Girls as well as Paul Smith.
It is safe to say Paul Smith has had a really positive impact on Jill Scott MBE, Steph Houghton and Demi Stokes as the more outstanding names but he also provides other girls with the chance to follow in the footsteps of the successful Lionesses side beginning their journey with Boldon CA Colts & Girls. The wonderful work from the Lionesses in Euro 2022 since October 2021, there has been a 17% increase in female affiliated players across all levels of the beautiful game, a 30% increase in female registered football teams , and a 15% increase in female youth teams.
We Are England - England's Next Lionesses can be watched here on BBC iPlayer.