Spalding United girls football team coach Darren Spillett and youngster Maya Agache have been inspired by England's journey to Euro 2022 final against Germany
Up-and-coming footballers have been inspired by the England team’s journey to the women’s Euro 2022 final.
The Lionesses are set to take on Germany in the showpiece match at Wembley Stadium tomorrow, kicking off at 5pm.
Darren Spillett, the manager of Spalding United’s U14 girls team, has watched on as his players take inspiration from the national team.
The Spalding squad includes his daughter Holly, and she is amongst a group who have been galvanised by their run - which has included impressive wins over Sweden and Spain.
“They’re all very excited. Some of the team are getting together to watch it,” said Mr Spillett, who has coached the team for four years.
“Our group chat was pinging off during the semi-final. The girls are excited, but equally the parents are excited, which is really good.”
He added that girls and ladies football is growing ‘massively’ in South Holland, and believes there is scope for even more improvement.
“They see role models, younger women who are now in the sport full-time. So I think there’s a real opportunity there,” he added.
Another youngster closely following England’s progress is 12-year-old Maya Agache, who is the only girl in her Spalding United youth team.
The Spalding Academy student, an avid Manchester United supporter, is a big fan of the Lioness squad - and her dad Vasile believes having some positive role models is vital.
Mr Agache said: “She is inspired more when she sees Beth Mead, and when she sees other players. She says ‘dad, I wish I am one of them one day’.
“I tell her ‘work hard, keep training and maybe you will become one of them’.
“It is very important. I remember when Maya started, we hadn’t seen any girls. In the last couple of years, we’ve started to see many more in other teams as well.
“It’s all the publicity that comes with it. I think social media and TV and everything is helping in changing the mindset.
“Mentalities are changing and people become more open to women’s football and sport in general.”
Maya has been playing football since the age of five, opting to kick a ball while most of her friends were playing with dolls.
Mr Agache believes she will transition into girls football soon, but says her experience of playing with boys has helped.
“Sometimes she finds it quite nice, quite enjoyable. Sometimes she can get frustrated because she’s been abused a few times by other children,” he said.
“They say ‘you are a girl’ or ‘you wear glasses, you should not play football’. But she likes a good challenge, and if you tell her ‘you can’t do it’ she will do everything she can to show actually she can.”