Thu, Jun

England's Rachel Yankey, back centre, poses with George Berry of the Professional Footballers Association and members of the St Augustine Secondary School. Photo: Sureash Cholai

Young female football players of the St Augustine Secondary School yesterday got some invaluable coaching lessons from world renowned female football star Rachel Yankey.

Yankey is in Trinidad and Tobago for the Flow-sponsored Legends Community Outreach scheme from May 15-19, which is part of promotions for the British Airways Tobago Football Legends Challenge at the Dwight Yorke Stadium from June 15-22. She is the most capped English football player in history ahead of male counterpart Peter Shilton and is part of the Arsenal Women’s side that won the most titles in the English Women’s professional football league.

St Augustine, who are coached by Desiree Sarjeant, are the reigning female secondary school Intercol and Big Four champions. Eight of the nine girls that participated in the session were of the under-17 category, with Niomi Guerra the lone under-20 player.

After the session, Yankey spoke about her time in the twin-island republic where her main focus was the needs of women in sport, outlining possible opportunities in the field while conducting coaching clinics and motivational speaking.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here, this country has a proud football tradition and working with the young girls and boys too in the past few days, it’s clear the passion for football is strong at the grassroots level,” said the 35-year-old Arsenal left-winger and forward.

Last year, Trinidad and Tobago fell agonisingly short of appearing in their first women’s World Cup which starts next month in Canada and Yankey encouraged the next generation of aspiring young female players to play their part in the nation clinching a berth in four years time.

“Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to break down barriers. Football can do similar great things for women just like men,” Yankee stated.

“Coming so close to qualifying for the World Cup shows how far women’s football has come in this country, so hopefully the next generation can help them to get one step further,” she declared.