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 Birmingham City’s Jess Carter and Sophie Baggaley ahead of the big game on Monday:
GOTB: You’ve got an important game coming up on Monday against Chelsea. What does it mean for the club to be in the semi-final of the SSE Women’s FA Cup?
SB: Obviously everyone is looking forward to it; everyone is excited. We all want to do well; it’s a great opportunity for us to get to a final and play at Wembley.
JC: Like Soph said, it’s another opportunity for us to win some silverware and that would be massive. It’s a great opportunity and we can’t wait to get going.
GOTB: Chelsea obviously present a challenge, especially as an attacking force. How will you be approaching the game to make sure you stifle that threat?
JC: They’ve got a very strong team from their bench to their starting eleven. Every player is pretty exceptional and exciting, whether it’s on the ball or off the ball, but it’s nothing our team can’t deal with. They’re just another team to us.
SB: They’ve got a Birmingham City legend in Karen Carney but we’ve just got to treat it as any other game really. They’ve got a lot of good players including Karen, but we know what she can do and we know we’ve got the ability to stop her and Chelsea.
GOTB: Jess, you recently played in the Continental Cup Final and you now have the chance to make another cup final at Wembley. What is it like playing in these kind of games?
JC: It’s big, but to me a game is just a game – whether it’s a friendly, pre-season, cup game, they’re all the same to me. For some people, playing in that stadium and in front of that crowd and in such an important game, it’s massive for some people. Some people use that as added pressure to go and perform even better, but either way it’s an exciting opportunity. A very exciting opportunity!
GOTB: Sophie, what would you say are your biggest strengths as a player?
SB: Obviously I take pride in keeping clean sheets. I’d say that I’m a good shot-stopper. I don’t let in many goals which is good for a goalkeeper!
GOTB: What would you say has been key to your progression at Birmingham?
JC: The coaches and my teammates definitely. We’ve had good managers, good coaching staff that have come and gone, but each brings something different. I’ve increased my knowledge and understanding, and tactically I’ve gone to another level because I had no idea when I first came here . Now I have a manager who I know very well and who will help me technically to get me to the place I need to be. He’s very honest, he’ll tell you what you’re good at and what you need to improve on and he’ll help you get there. So with the managers and the other senior players here, they’re all more than willing to help me progress.
GOTB: You have both now been in England senior squads, most recently for the two friendlies. What’s it like being around the senior team?
SB: Obviously being in that environment, every single player has got a wealth of experience, so it’s impossible to go there and not learn something new. You have to make the most of it whilst you’re there. The training is next level; it’s great to be in and around those players.
GOTB: And finally, what’s it like to see these young girls here today, excited to meet you and watch the semi-final on Monday?
JC: Meeting the girls today has reminded me what it’s like to be a young football fan, full of excitement and hopes for the future. The Make Dreams Goals competition is the perfect opportunity for the girls to channel that excitement and communicate their hopes and dreams. My footballing dream has always been to lift the SSE Women’s FA Cup and I’ll be hoping that comes true in May.
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 Solihull Moors or online at www.thefa.com/makedreamsgoals.