Shakeela, in year 8, has just had a life changing piece of news for her sporting career and The Student Press caught up with her to find out what happened and how it happened.
So tell us your news?
I got selected for the Arsenal Centre for Excellence!
How did this happen?
First of all, I play for Essex FA and have been doing so for the last two years. From there, I got a 25 week set of trials from Arsenal. I had to send off information and do a performance interview. This involved dribbling through cones and all sorts of things. I find I can play in any position but I prefer midfield as you get to play a bit of everything and I had to show them this. Then today I got a letter through. It came to my dad and he called the school up and told me. I’m so excited!
So I have been accepted to the Arsenal Centre for Excellence. I get to train in a professional setting and after a length of time and a certain age, I can get a contract and from there a profession as a full time footballer.
Was it a big leap? Is this something you’ve always want?
Yeah, I have dreamt that maybe one day I’d be in the Olympics. I love athletics and it’s something I’ve always been interested in. I’ve only really been interested in football from the last two years. It all started because one day I was with friends and playing around kicking a ball and a friend’s father saw me. He spoke to my dad and was like ‘you know Shakeela can really play’. It all went from there. At school, I am on the football team and recently me and Billie (pictured below) and the rest of the team won the league. It was the Essex School Championship. It was quite cool because I scored the opening goal at the game.
How did you feel when your dad called reception today?
Shocked and a bit of relief because I have been waiting all week.
How many got picked from the trials?
15 from 100s and 100s of people. I feel really proud, it was quite an achievement.
It was a two hour trial and just one day in London to impress them. You had to show them everything you have learnt . It was my one shot. I could have come back again if I didn’t get in. I knew some from my Essex FA. I got a chance to watch some my friends- some don’t know if they’ve gotten through yet. I hope they have.
Do you think that girls deserve get more attention for football?
Yeah, I want to write to EA sports and have a video game of the Women and Men’s’ team for FIFA 14 or even 15. Women should get as much recognition as the men. I think that women are great players sometimes even better. In fact I prefer the Arsenal women’s team to the men. They’re better, they’ve won the league like 11 times already!
Well done Shakeela.
Written by Lauren and Abbey