Edinburgh Calling – U19s Prepare for their toughest test

In July Team England U19s travel to Edinburgh, Scotland to compete in the 2015 FIL Rathbones U19 Women’s World Championships. This will be arguably the toughest challenge many of young players will have ever encountered as they step on the field with the best young players in the World. We recently interviewed Assistant Coach Alex Carnegie-Brown to find out more about the team and what expectations the team has ahead of the championships.

Hi Alex, Could you first give us some background on the coaching and support staff that is currently involved with Team England U19s?

Head Coach: Nicky Budd
Currently Director of Sport and Outward Bound at The Lady Eleanor Holles School with 17 years coaching experience at all levels. A Senior England player in her younger days and she consistently produces teams and players of excellent quality. In the last 10 years at National Schools her teams have been in two semi-finals and four finals!

Assistant Coach (Defence): Alex Carnegie-Brown
Learnt to coach at Triple Arrow Lacrosse Camps, before coaching at junior regional level. GK coach with Senior England at European championships (2012) and member of the U19 England squad at the 2007 World Cup.

Assistant Coach (GK): Mike Molster
Over 20 years of lacrosse coaching experience in both the men’s and women’s games. He is the current Volunteer Assistant Coach for the Towson University Women’s Lacrosse team.

Physio: Emma Dunphy
Emma is a senior physiotherapist with both NHS and sports experience. She qualified from the University of East London with first class honours and has worked with athletes at West Ham United, London Marathon and the Great Britain Deaf Women’s football team,

Performance: Joe Lightfoot
CEO and co-founder ofResults Inc. a performance company, Joe works with our athletes to improve their performance, through their physical training program to get the players in the best condition possible at the world cup.

Manager: Kate Machemer
Three years as U19 Manager. Kate draws on her experience as Director of Junior School Sport at North London Collegiate School and previous work at St Pauls Girls School to make sure we are all kept in line, and arrive in the right place at the right time.

Could you tell us what the process to this point has entailed?
The girls have been training together for the last 3 years, the first players to come through the new English Lacrosse academy system following open trials. They have met and trained about 4 times a year, and competed in domestic competitions. We took 40 players on a tour to Canada in the summer of 2013 to play in the festival alongside the senior world cup. This enabled us to gain valuable experience against international opposition. To continue this development we toured to America in Summer 2014, which included a semi-final run in the Club National Championship tournament and 3 days in Camp at Towson University. Season 2014/15 has seen our training step up, meeting as a squad monthly. We initially had a training group of 35, which following January squad has been cut to 25 remaining players.

How has the team been developing and what plans do you have to prepare the team to play against the worlds best in the summer?
The team has undoubtedly been improving steadily. After initially focusing on the development on individual play we now have a solid attack, defence and midfield set up, with a number of different strategies. We continue to develop as a squad and are starting to develop more specific roles and strategies as the make-up of the team and its natural strengths is taking shape. We will be testing ourselves against strong domestic competition at the regional tournament in March, and against our UK peers at the Home Internationals in March. Our biggest test awaits in our final selection April tour to the East Coast, where we will challenge ourselves against some of the best schools and clubs in the US. We are using the tour to replicate the challenging schedule of the world cup as much as possible and will form a crucial final assessment of the players’ ability to cope with such pressure.

What would you say are the major challenges that the team still have ahead of them before Edinburgh?
The challenge the tour poses from a learning and physical point of view will be huge. Many of our players are also juggling academics with their lacrosse, and staying healthy, fit and performing in both is always difficult. Then it will be about pushing each other as hard as possible in the last 5 months to ensure we are all holding ourselves to gold medal standard, to ensure we come away with no regrets this summer.

Could you tell us what the team’s expectations for Edinburgh from a performance point of view?
The last time England women came away with a medal from the World Cup was a bronze in the 2007 U19 World Cup, so we know we have our work cut out for us. Our main rivals will be Australia, Canada and the US. We believe we have the potential to reach the final this summer and from there anything could happen!

Team England U19 Squad

A – Alex Drewe
A – Ayesha Nicholls
A – Luci Delaney
A – Nancy Day
A – Sophie Tamblyn
A – Phoebe O’Hara
M – Alice Cranwell
M – Emily Sambrook Smith
M – Feenie Ruiz
M – Freya Savage
M – Hannah Bray
M – Hannah Thurston
M – Olivia Wimpenny
M – Sophie Carter
M – Taya Jackson
M – Tilly Shires
D – Amelia Miller
D – Clare Brown
D – Ellie Hillier
D – Emma Adams
D – Fiona Stockton
D – India-Rose May
D – Rebecca Jordache
D – Zoe Thursz
G – Zoe Parker
G – Mimi Ruiz