Elsie Plowright is probably the most focused girl I have ever met.
Aged just 11 she has been kicking a ball since she has been able to walk. Her parents, neither of whom have ever played or followed football were slightly bemused by her fascination but nevertheless recognised her early talent and signed her up to an U5s football team.
Even at that early age her skills and determination proved intimidating to her team-mates and despite progressing through the age-groups Elsie never really felt included nor fully utilised. It is a credit to her love of the game, and desire to be the best that she can be, that she was not put off, in fact it increased her determination to play and to improve.
As seems to happen with people who have a talent for sports, Elsie also excels at cricket, hockey (where she played in goal), cross country and tennis. She is also accomplished at acting, singing and dancing.
Elsie was singled out by a cricket scout but unfortunately she just didn’t have the time available to commit to another sport.
Towards the end of the U-11 season the family decided to look for a different team for Elsie. They emailed around and had a swift response via telephone from Ben Lawrence coach at Bottisham FC who wanted to know if this was ‘corner Elsie’. (Having seen Elsie play Ben had been impressed by her accurate corner kicks.) He invited them to come along for the club family/presentation day along with another newcomer, Jonathan, both new players were welcomed warmly to the new club and Elsie’s parents, Gary and Clare, remarked on the immediate difference in approach.
From the very first Elsie felt accepted and appreciated by her new team, just another player.
I asked Bottisham U12 goalkeeper, Raffey Barker, how he feels about having Elsie on the team. He said: “She’s a really good player and I don’t think we would be as good a team without her.”
Elsie takes inspiration from Lionel Messi (another diminutive player) she loves his skill and style of play, and also Lucy Bronze. Elsie loves the way Lucy has gone from playing football with her brother to being a Lioness.
No surprise to find that Elsie is part of the Emerging Talent Center at Cambridge United and has been with the Youth Development programme for some time.
Cambridge United Youth Development Coach Charlotte Crisp said of Elsie; “She is an exceptional young player, displays great talent and character and has an eye for goal.”
Elsie is both bright and tactically aware, she is a box to box winger, just as happy defending as attacking. She realises that opposition players look at her, a girl, smallest player on the team and usually don’t even bother to mark her – she is more than happy to exploit that space, and she knows that she has the speed to beat most players.
Despite her size she isn’t easily muscled off the ball and holds her ground against much larger players.
I asked Elsie of her hopes and dreams for the future.
She said: “In the future I would like to be famous, have a flat in North London, be a Lioness and play for Tottenham, and have two dachshunds.”
I have no doubt at all that Elsie will achieve these aims and more and very much look forward to watching her progress.
We wish her every success.