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Womens Football News Archive - 14th Apr 2003

Q&A with Bonnie Horwood and Darel Poole

Bonnie Horwood and Darel Poole are two rising stars who are set to make their mark on the women's game in the future. They play for Colchester United in the South East Combination after having successfully come through the ranks of the club's Centre of Excellence Programme. They have also made an impact on the international scene.
Darel Poole
Bonnie Horwood
Darel Poole (age 16) - Plays as Centre Half and also appears for the Essex Representative Side. She has captained the England under-17 team and made an appearance for the England under-19 squad.
Bonnie Horwood (age 15) - Has appeared several times this season for the first team at Colchester and recently received her call up to the England under-17 training camps.
Both girls have applied for football scholarships at Loughborough University, the only establishment in the country that offers football-focused scholarships for girls.
We asked Darel and Bonnie for their thoughts on the women's game as they await to play a South East Combination match at Layer Road, the home of Colchester United F.C. on Easter Monday.
Do Schools do enough to encourage girls to play football?
Darel: Honest answer? No. Although the FA are putting in plans to introduce it into the school curriculum and this will open the door up to so many more girls.
Bonnie: No. We are not allowed to play at my school and that is just wrong, I cannot understand why some schools still have such an old fashioned view.
Do the F.A. do enough for the women's game?
Darel: Well they are doing more and more, with the backing of Nationwide. We have a proper league pyramid for women's and girls, plus girl's football is growing very fast. The grassroots game is getting established so the only way for the game is forward.
What was it like to play for England?
Darel: Absolutely fantastic! The whole experience even just training is something I aim to continue to do for the foreseeable future, its such a fantastic opportunity for any player.
Bonnie: It was the best thing in the world and I can't wait to do it again, it is great to be with some of the best players in the country and train with them.
Were you nervous when you played for England?
Darel: I was nervous as hell but once I had my first touch I was OK, I was so proud to be chosen for Captain, its one of the best moment of my life so far.
Bonnie: I was at the start but once the whistle went I settled down and it was like any other game.
Would you rather...
  • Play for Col Utd ?
  • Go to Loughborough University ?
  • Be signed by a big club ?
Both: It has to be Loughborough University. They only select a very limited number of girls for the scholarships each year. So to be chosen is a real honour. Once there you will get Football coaching every day of the week while also keeping up with your academic studies. We both have our interviews coming up, so fingers crossed.
Should age be a barrier in Football ?
Darel: Only to protect kids up to a certain age, the women's game is much more physical than girls, so you have to be ready and physically able to make the step up.
Bonnie: I think that if you are good enough you are old enough. You can play at any level if you have the ability.
Many older people have a stereotypical view of female footballers, you two don't fit into this. What can be done to change people's preconceptions ?
Darel: I think the game just needs better positive publicity, lots of people form their opinions before they have even seen a women's game. Just like the men's game there are many different types of players, tall athletes, small midfield dynamos and your big right back who will frighten off any attacker. You don't know until you take the time to find out. This is happening with publicity on websites and newspapers but we do need more of it.
Where do you see yourself in five years time ?
Both: Hopefully in America playing professional football! It's the only place to be at the moment. Other countries are so far behind America, the professional league out there attracts fans in their thousands, more than at Layer Road. Many English players go out to America to earn their place in the fantastic set up they have out there. Mia Hamm is a prime example of how far you can go in the women's game, she is worth millions and has played at the highest level possible in the World Cup winning team.
Do you think that referees treat women the same ? Darel: No, they give us too much respect and don't expect us to be as physical as the blokes, I just don't understand this? It's the same game, the only difference is we are women, we challenge just as hard and play with as much passion. Refs who think we should be more "ladylike" so often misinterpret this
Bonnie: I think they treat us fairly at the girls level, I haven't really noticed any difference between the boys and us.
Do you think that women should be referees and linesman ?
Darel: Not if they have never played the game themselves, I don't think they quite understand the game if they have never experienced it on the playing field. You can't teach that.
Bonnie: Some can and some can't, I have seen a few that are good but unfortunately there have been some terrible ones too, but you get that in men's football too.
What do your parents think of you playing at this level ? Darel: Absolutely brilliant, they support me all the way.
Bonnie's Dad: I am really really proud!!
How do you feel the season has gone at Colchester ?
Darel: I have enjoyed my first season here and I hope we do better next year, with the players that we have and the youngsters coming through, the future looks bright for the club.
Bonnie: I haven't played enough at senior level but I have enjoyed it when I have, the cup final was great and I loved being part of the squad for that day even though we lost, it was a great game and advert for the women's game.
Are you looking forward to playing at Layer Road ?
Darel: Very much so, it will be exciting to play in front of a crowd.
Bonnie: Oh yeah! I can't wait to get on the pitch and play a proper league game. We have done it before but only for friendlies.
How many keepy uppies can you do ?
Darel: It's not my best skill so on average 35
Bonnie: My best ever was 364! I practice a lot.
Who is your favourite Premiership Player ?
Darel: Ashley Cole
Bonnie: David Beckham but I like Wayne Rooney too.
Some people would say it's not right for women to play football, how would you answer this ?
Bonnie: I think everyone should be able to play football if they want to no matter who they are !
Thank you to Bonnie and Darel for taking the time to answer these questions…we hope to quiz more players very soon !
Photos courtesy of www.culfc.com

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