Young Whitehaven AFC Starlet Emi Rudd is looking to follow in the footsteps of England Stars Kiera Walsh & Georgia Stanway as she steps up to join the renowned Academy in the North West, Blackburn Rovers!!
Lead Girls Coach Rob Campbell caught up with the talented youngster and got to interview her on this exciting moment in her life after finishing a training session with her new club.
1. So Emi, Wow, what an achievement to be selected to play for Blackburn Rovers Academy, how did all this come about?
I received a phone call from Blackburn Rovers offering me an opportunity to go down for a trial. They had been in discussions with Cumberland ACC who had recommended me to Rovers. It was a shock but I was really excited when I found out.
2. How did you feel at your first session to trial for them?
I was really nervous but excited on the way down, once I started I was fine. All the girls were really nice and made me feel welcome. It was difficult as the under 14 team had a night off so I had my trial with the U16s.
After, I was really happy because i thought i had done really well.
3. How many players have been selected, how is the new team, have you made new friends?
We have a squad of 16 but we play 11 aside which is different to what I have been used too.
I’m the only new girl in the team that was successful in the trials. The rest of the girls have came through the age groups with Blackburn.
So far I’ve made lots of new friends and they have made me feel part of the team already.
4. So you play Central Midfield is that right? That’s a difficult position to play, what do you like about it?
Yes central midfield is my favourite position.
Its a very difficult position to play and you are involved in defence and attack.
I like that I can be involved and it suits the way I like to play. I now need to adapt my style to suit the team as i have a lot less time on the ball.
5. Is this where Blackburn are looking to play you or have they said they playing you in different positions?
So far I have played central midfield and more of an attacking midfielder just off the striker. I really enjoyed playing this position. I scored my first goal for the team playing in this position, it was such a good feeling to score.
6. So to get selected for such an academy with a rich history in developing players, such as England Stars Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway, it must feel really good, what’s the dream for Emi Rudd in football, what goals do you have?
I would love to play for England this is my ultimate goal. I recognise that I have a lot of hard work I need to do to progress as a player. I’m only at the start of the journey so playing and training with girls of a higher level will hopefully allow me to improve.
I’m following a training program and working on my strength and fitness so hopefully this will allow me keep improving.
7. So to get to the Academy you must of worked really hard, when did you start playing football and was that just at Whitehaven or other clubs?
I joined Whitehaven Amateurs girls team when I was 11 and have loved football ever since. I played for a boys team for 1 year but unfortunately the team folded so I put my concentration into playing purely within the girls team.
The coaches at Whitehaven especially Neil Hetherington are very dedicated and offered options to play and train every day. Neil helped me a lot. He coached me to have the confidence to stay on the ball and not just kick it away. This has been a massive part in my development.
I feel I have worked hard to have the opportunity to play for Blackburn, but the hard work starts now. I often do extra training on my own as u want to keep improving.
8. You were selected last year in the Cumberland FA ACC for girls, which is where you were spotted by Blackburn I believe, how did that centre help you progress?
Yes that is correct. I really enjoyed being part of the ACC. I met a lot of new friends and the talent of all the girls there was really high. It’s a shame that once you leave the under 14s there is nothing available for girls to continue to develop as a team. Im really lucky to have been given this opportunity to continue my development pathway with Blackburn.
Training with the girls at the ACC improved me as you have less time with the ball and need to develop more skills to cope in different situations.
The coaches were really good and helped me improve each week.
9. What’s your favourite thing about football, why do you love it so much, so you do any other sports?
I love being part of a team, working hard together and testing myself. My favourite thing is attacking, I love scoring goals and creating play.
I have played rugby with school but apart from that my main focus is on football. I also play football for school and made it to the 1/4 final of the National Cup last year.
10. Other than being chosen for Blackburn which is clearly a massive achievement, what has been your favourite moment in football so far?
I have experienced many amazing moments throughout my time playing football, one of them being getting to the quarter final of the national cup for St Benedict’s Catholic High School. This was an amazing opportunity as we travelled all over England and managed to get so far in such an intense competition.
My Whitehaven Amateurs team had an unbeaten record, winning 19/19 games in the league last season which was a huge achievement for all the girls.
11. Do you have any sporting inspirations, Women or Men that you look up to in football or in sport generally, and what is it you think is inspiring about them?
I really like watching Sam Mewis as she reads the game well and she always creates time for herself on the ball. She is my inspiration because she controls the game and is a good team player.
Rob Campbell was also able to speak to her coach at Whitehaven AFC who was keen to support Emi and wish her well, Neil Hetherington, currently Lead Coach of the Whitehaven AFC U14 Girls said 'Emi is a fantastic footballer who has the ability to glide past opposition at ease, pace and power are her key attributes she's a great finisher with both feet, never coached a girl who scores more headers really brave and committed. Great lass to have in the team has a great attitude to learn but she has the hunger for success so I don't see her being phased by the step up. All the lasses and coaches from the u14s wish Emi the best of luck and success she deserves, we will all be eager to see her career develop and become a Women's Super League player.'
Rob Campbell also commented 'I've been involved in Whitehaven AFC Girls for many years, I coach Emi's younger sister Layla, so I've had the chance at times to see Emi playing and training, and speak to her and her family. All I can say about her is nothing will hold that girl back, she has so much self motivation, going out for long runs to keep fitness up, doing extra sessions and just has a real hunger to succeed from what I have seen. It's a great moment for the Club when a player is seen as good enough to move on to such a high level, her coaches have done a great job and Emi has embraced it all, and everyone at the club wishes Emi every success and hopefully she'll inspire many of our young Lionesses to reach for the stars. I'll certainly be keeping tabs on her journey and wishing her all the very best.'