With the SSE Women’s FA Cup semi-finals fast approaching, the FA’s new competition, “Make Dreams Goals”, is underway. The aim is to get young football fans to share their dreams with the chance of winning a trip to the Final at Wembley in May.
Players of the competition’s semi-finalists have been supporting the competition this week. We caught up with Liverpool’s Gemma Bonner ahead of their big game against Manchester City on Monday:
GOTB: You’ve got a massive game against Manchester City on Monday in the SSE Women’s FA Cup. What does it mean for Liverpool to have reached the semi-finals of such a big tournament?
GB: It’s a massive thing for the club. Being at a club like Liverpool, you’re expected to do well and to win trophies. So for us to be in this position is a great opportunity and gives us a chance at winning some silverware. I think there’s obviously a big challenge for us against Man City. It’s going to be a really tough game I’m sure – they will be up for it as much as we are. But as a group, we’re excited and ready for the game ahead of us.
GOTB: City have obviously had a very successful year but you pushed them probably the closest of any other team in the league last year. Will you be approaching the game in the same way?
GB: Yes I think we’ve got to take the positives from last year and the way we played them in both games. They were the top side last year and they deservedly won the league deservedly. It’s going to be a challenge but for us to be the only team to take points off them in both games, we’ve got to look at what we did well in those games. If you look at City they’ve got quality all over the pitch and on the bench as well. They’ve got players who are capable of coming on and changing the games so we have to make sure that we’re prepared for that. We’ve come up with a game plan to ensure we can put in a good performance and hopefully get the result that we need.
GOTB: You’ve made a few signings over the winter period. How have they fitted into the squad?
GB: They’ve been brilliant coming in. Signing Casey [Stoney] and Jess [Clarke] and having [Laura] Coombs return as well – they’re three massive players for us. Coombs showed what a player she was last season and she really improved from signing for us at the beginning and growing as a player towards the end. I think adding the experience of players like Casey and Jess is definitely what we needed. They’ve played in the league for a long time and they know what it’s about. We’re a young group together so they’ve all fitted in well into the group and we’re looking forward to having a successful year.
GOTB: What’s the best thing for you about being a part of Liverpool Football Club?
GB: Being part of a massive club with a rich history is great. Since I first signed, it has felt like a home for me. I’ve been here for 5 years now and winning the titles back to back in the first couple of years was a real special feeling. Growing up being a Liverpool fan, it’s the best place to be. I’m really enjoying it here and hopefully we can have a few more successful years ahead.
GOTB: What would you say are your greatest strengths as a player?
GB: On the pitch, I like to command from the back and control what I can do, win the headers or the tackles. As a centre half, I think you need to be able to be a part of the attacking play. I like to win my individual battles but also to start attacks for the girls and get the ball forward.
GOTB: So how important are initiatives like the ‘Make Dreams Goals’ initiative to get young girls inspired in the game?
GB: It’s massive! We’ve seen this morning first hand, the young girls that have come in are all aspiring to be professional footballers. To see that and to see the impact we can have on them is really inspiring. Hopefully they will achieve their dreams and go on to inspire the next generation. I think looking at the girls this morning, they’re the future of women’s football and the more we can inspire them and be involved in initiatives like this then the game will keep growing and get better and better.
The FA’s Make Dreams Goals initiative aims to encourage young football fans to share their footballing dreams, before turning a chosen few into reality. Entrants have until Monday 17th April to submit their dreams with postboxes present on matchday at the Academy Stadium or online at www.thefa.com/makedreamsgoals.