As the current generation of England’s Lionesses takes on all-comers in Australia and New Zealand, one NCGM trader is playing a part in hopefully helping the talented girls at Surbiton High School become the Lionesses that grace future World Cups.
Surbiton High, a private independent school for girls, has one of the country’s most successful football programmes for youngsters. Across the 2022/23 season, its A teams lost only a handful of nearly 200 games played, winning the year nine and year 10 English Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA) national titles and finishing runners up in the year 13 competition. The school also made history in winning a clean sweep of Surrey Schools Football Association titles, U12-U18, becoming the first school in either the boys and girls game to do so.
Martin Dykes of Nature’s Choice has doubled as dad/ supporter and unofficial sponsor – he supplies fruit and water for every team when they play in tournaments around the country. His daughter Ruby has just left sixth form having been part of the school’s trailblazing team.
Martin puts the success down to Zak Elbekri, the school’s Head of Football. “Zak has put so much effort into it and he really inspires the girls. He works so hard – his drive and dedication to the girls has been incredible,” said Martin. “He has unearthed lots of local talent and transformed the image of girls’ football in the area. His teams love him to bits.”
It can’t be that long before one of the Surbiton High players progresses to play for a high-profile senior team, a professional Women’s Super League outfit and who knows, to represent the Lionesses. “Each year we’re getting more and more really talented players and I think that’s because they are seeing the potential,” said Zak. “It’s definitely become one of the aims for us to see someone go on and play professionally. If they were to go on an represent their country too, that would be unbelievable.”