Carrying on our series of interviews with the Arsenal Ladies’ youngsters, we spoke to Georgia Allen who is going to study at East Tennessee State University, following in the footsteps of former Arsenal reserves players like Alexis Passingham or Hannah Short.
Georgia is an England u19 international who recently played against France in a friendly a St. George’s Park. She is your typical playmaker, technically strong on the ball, she can pass the ball long or short at will and leads the team play from midfield.
Can you tell us how and when you started to play football and when did you join Arsenal Ladies?
“I started playing football in Primary school on the football team, which only included boys. At the age of six I was scouted by Ipswich Town Ladies and joined their Centre of Excellence. I continued this until age 12 when Ipswich failed to secure their Centre of Excellence licence, and I had to trial elsewhere if I wanted to continue playing.
“I trialed at Arsenal Ladies but didn’t expect anything to come of it. To my disbelief I have been lucky enough to play for the club me and my family support for five years, working my way up from U15s to Reserves and even getting game time for the first team.”
How many trophies did you win with the club?
“Being a part of two brilliantly talented sides, I have captained the U17s to the double and then won the double this year with the reserve squad. I was also fortunate to be named in the squad of the first team when they won the Continental Cup last season.”
How did your move to ETSU came about?
“When I started A-levels I really had to consider what path I could take that would mean I could play and be coached football everyday at a high standard but also combine my studies to get a degree. Finding a University in America, for me, was the best option.
“I contacted Adam Sayers, the ETSU coach, knowing other players had gone over there and other coaches here spoke very highly of him. When I met him it became immediately apparent that he had the same drive to succeed and improve as I do.
“Another reason I chose ETSU is the fact Adam has a pHD in Human Performance and is also involved with the US national ladies teams. I realised not only will I be getting coached by a highly qualified coach, he knows, maybe more than others, how to combine studying and elite sport so you can be successful at both.”
Did you have to do football trials?
“Adam came over to watch an U17 England match v Germany which I captained and we met afterwards where he gave me and my family more insight to the University and offered me my scholarship.”
Were you tempted to stay and study in England rather than go to the USA or were the opportunities more interesting over there?
“What I know that I will get from going to America is high quality, high intensity training everyday and a competitive league. The programme is tailored to make sure I can get my qualifications without sacrificing my football, and vice versa. It is the perfect opportunity to allow me not to cut off options but rather open more doors.
“The University Soccer Team at ETSU is made up of Scottish, Welsh, Austrian, Swiss, Australian, and Italian internationals all competing at levels from U18s to the Senior squads for their respective countries, so knowing that I would be playing with those players made my decision that much easier.”
Note: 2015/16 roster at ETSU had many Bristish players like Goalkeeper Jasmine Elliott who played for England u19, Molly Collinson, Alexa Passingham who played for the Arsenal Academy and reserves. Emilie McKerly from Scotland, Fiona Dodge from Wales. They also have two girls who have been called up for Italy u23 and two Austrian girl Simona Koren and the now Turbine Potsdam player Sarah Zadrazil who has seven caps and one goal at Senior level for them.
What will be your main subject to study? Is it a three or four year course?
“My four year degree is Human Services. Basically this combines psychology, sociology and social work. I am looking to minor in Criminal Justice and Criminology.”
Do you think you will try to find a job back in England straight at the end of your studies or try to make it as pro-footballer in the USA or in England?
“All I know right now is that I want to play professional football at the highest level. Currently I am focused on making the transition over to the States and being a positive impact on my team and succeeding in my studies, everything and anything can change in four years so I am excited to start this journey and see what opportunities could be next.”
What your best memories from all those years at Arsenal Ladies football club?
“I am grateful for the exceptional coaching I have received at this club over the years, from Angela Cuerden to Pedro and Jose. There have been some unforgettable moments on the pitch, winning moments and games that will stay with me. In every memory though there have been a group of players who are always in them, and to me the talented, hard-working, committed girls who i have had the privilege of sharing a team with over the past 5 years, are always going to be my best memories.”
Thank you Georgia for this very insightful interview and good luck at University next season.