Colleges which taught players in the England women’s football team have hailed the achievements of their former students ahead of the Euro 2022 final on Sunday.
The Lionesses defeated Sweden 4-0 in the semi-finals earlier this week to secure a place in the final at Wembley this weekend against Germany.
Among the 23-strong team are a handful of college graduates.
Jill Scott and Demi Stokes both studied at Gateshead College – with Scott going on to help in a coaching capacity.
Scott studied at the college’s academy for sport from 2003 to 2005 for a level 3 BTEC in sports science, going on to complete a foundation degree in sport in 2006 in partnership with the University of Sunderland.
Between 2008 and 2013, when she was part of Everton’s line-up and the international squad, Scott returned to the college to help head coach Melanie Reay with coaching and mentoring.
Stokes (main image) meanwhile attended the college’s sport academy from 2008 to 2010 to achieve a level 3 BTEC in development coaching and fitness, and a level 4 diploma in sport and recreation.
David Alexander, principal and CEO of Gateshead College said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to reach the final and we’re all immensely proud to have two Gateshead College alumni, Jill Scott and Demi Stokes, in the squad, they are a real inspiration to all our students.
“Along with the whole country, everyone at Gateshead College will be cheering on the Lionesses this Sunday and it would be great to welcome Jill and Demi back for a visit with the trophy.”
Midfielder Ella Toone, who scored in the team’s 2-1 quarter final win over Spain, studied at Wigan & Leigh College for a level 3 national extended diploma in sports science from 2018.
Gareth Hayes, head of sport at the college, said: “Since she left college, we have continued to watch Ella’s football career flourish. We are extremely proud of what she has achieved.
“From making her first team debut for Manchester United, to scoring a crucial goal for England in the Women’s Euros 2022, her performance has been nothing short of exceptional.
“As a Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) accredited college, we are extremely proud of how we support our athletes with a dual career, offering a flexible approach to their studies to support academic performance, alongside their professional sport commitments.
“Ella is a true inspiration to the next generation of athletes and we look forward to seeing what she will accomplish in the future.”
Striker Bethany England attended Barnsley College, where she is understood to have studied A-levels in citizenship, health and social care, law and sociology.
Luke Forgione, performance and athlete development co-ordinator at the college, said: “Beth is an inspiration for all. A woman that comes from our town and represents the Barnsley values so well.
“Like many girls, Beth fought against all odds to play the game of football and is part of an England women’s team that is reaching new heights. Here at Barnsley College, we are immensely proud of her achievements, and she is an inspiration for many.
“Beth’s story shows what can be achieved with hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Beth has shown football is for all, she is a hero on and off the pitch. This girl definitely can.”
Deputy principal for culture, place and communities, Liz Leek, added that the college is “rightly proud” of Beth and those who helped her realise her talent, adding: “Our sports academy provides opportunities for young people to shine and Beth is one of the shiniest! We are all delighted that Beth is one of our alumni and everyone will be cheering her on this Sunday.”
The squad secured a 1-0 win over Austria before trouncing Norway 8-0 and breezing 5-0 over Northern Ireland in the group stages. A 2-1 win over Spain in the quarter finals was followed by a 4-0 crushing of Sweden in the semis to reach the Wembley final.
Kick-off for Sunday’s final is at 5pm.