XL@Football stars looking forward to the Women’s World Cup
20 Jul 2023


With the eyes of football fans focused on the Women’s World Cup, England supporters will be wondering whether the national team can repeat their stunning success at last summer’s European Championships.

So who better to talk with about the Lionesses’ chances in Australia and New Zealand than three up-and-coming young stars from XL@Football, the all-female football academy that Kent Reliance has partnered with since 2021.

We caught up with Gabby Buddles-Smith, Eliza Brooks and Neve Connor, all aged 17, to have a chat about where they’ll be watching the tournament, what they’re most looking forward to and which players they’ll be keeping a close eye on.

Will you be watching the World Cup and if so, where will you be watching it?

Gabby: I’ll be watching some of it at home with my family and friends, and also while I’m on holiday in Greece. It’ll be a great atmosphere watching it with other England fans while I’m abroad.

Eliza: Yes, I can’t wait for it! Even though some of the games will be on at strange times, I’m planning on watching them with my family.

Neve: I’ll be watching as many games as I can at home with my family.

What are you most looking forward to about the World Cup?

Gabby: I’m looking forward to seeing the England players who play against each other as club rivals come together as one team and how they all work together.

Eliza: There’s always a great atmosphere when England plays. I love how it brings everyone together to support their country.

Neve: The World Cup is always exciting because it only comes round every four years. It also gives fans a chance to see different styles of play from teams and players they wouldn’t usually watch.

Do you think England has a chance of winning the World Cup?

Gabby: I think they’ve got a chance, but they’ve had quite a few injuries and retirements since the Euros so it will be a different team playing. It’s a good opportunity for new players to show what they can do.

Eliza: Yes, despite all the injuries I think they’ve still got a very talented squad.

Neve: It’ll be interesting to see how we get on after being crowned European champions. There’s been a lot of talk and pressure on us, but I’m still confident we can go all the way.

Which player should people keep an eye out for and why?

Gabby: Alessia Russo – she scored four goals in the Euros and only came on as a sub. She should now be starting matches and will hopefully score more goals, and make a big impact on the team.

Eliza: Lauren James – her technical ability is amazing.

Neve: Keira Walsh – she made a name for herself at the Euros and, as a midfielder myself, I’ll be watching her. Lauren James is a rising young star and is another one to look out for. She’s very technical and is always looking to drive the team forward with her dribbling and skills. I’m also looking forward to seeing Trinity Rodman from the USA play. She’s so comfortable with the ball at her feet which is an essential skill to have and she’s also very confident when driving at players.

Kent Reliance is proud to sponsor XL@Football and wishes the players and all of their team mates good luck for the upcoming season.