It has been announced this week that local footballer, Rebecca McGowan (17), has been selected to play in the Scottish team at the 2019 UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship due to take place in Scotland later this month. Rebecca was selected for the under-19s training camp held in Largs last August, following which she was successfully selected to train in Belgium where she went on to compete in friendly matches against the host nation.
In the past year she has played multiple matches against a host of European nations in the Elite rounds, and along with her team mates she’s hopeful that this will have set them in good stead for the challenge ahead.
“In the past 18 months I’ve played against Slovakia, Latvia and England in qualifying rounds, France, Finland and Sweden in the Elite rounds, and China, Holland and Switzerland in a tournament out in La Manga. There have been mixed results, but at every stage I’ve embraced the experience and as a team we’ve competed well and taken huge steps forward in our development.”
Everyone at St Johnstone is extremely proud to see one of our own go forward to play for the national team.Indeed, she won the St Johnstone Women’s football team Young Player of the Year award in 2018 such is her dedication to her sport.
Jason McCrindle, Women’s Manager at St Johnstone had this to say. "Everyone at St Johnstone is extremely proud to see one of our own go forward to play for the national team. Bexi has worked incredibly hard over many years starting when she was with Raith Rovers.
Since the move to SJWFC two years ago she has upped that workload and really improved her game, and deserves so much credit. She has a strong work ethic and we know she'll give it her all as she does in every game she plays. She is certainly ready to play on this stage and we can’t wait to lend our support at the matches."
Rebecca joined her first team, Raith Rovers, aged 9, and it has been her dream since then to represent her country at European level.
“I was introduced to football at a young age, playing with my brother and cousins. Joining Raith Rovers was my first taste of being in a real but it was my move to St Johnstone that proved crucial for my development. I started to get selected for Scotland squads and training camps and it has all gone from there. I’ve been so focused on being selected for the Euro Finals this year, and I’m thrilled that all my hard work has paid off.”
That hard work involves training with St Johnstone 2 nights a week as well as 1-2-1 sessions with her coach and two nights of training with Gil Stevenson as part of the Live Active Leisure Performance Strength and Conditioning Athlete Squad.
“When I’m not playing football I’m the Modern Apprentice with the Live Active Leisure Sport Team so I’m lucky to have access to all of LAL’s facilities! In March this year I was appointed as one of the new athletes to join the Performance Squad sponsored by the Gannochy Trust – just in time to enjoy the upgraded S&C gym in Bell’s Sport Centre which was great!
Being part of women’s football at this moment in time is exciting. I’m really grateful to all of my coaches and team mates.It’s amazing – I’ve benefited hugely from Gil’s experience since starting and there’s no doubt it played a part in securing my place on the Scottish squad for the Euros. For me, part of the buzz is competing at the highest level and challenging myself against top players in the country. To do that I need to be in peak condition which is where strength training comes in – it lifts your fitness to another level.”
Paul Cromwell, Live Active Leisure's CEO commented, "We're proud when any of our LAL Performance Squad Athletes reach major milestones in their sporting careers, but when they are also part of the LAL staff team it is especially thrilling.
The dedication that Bex has shown to her sport, both off and on the pitch, is truly inspiring and she really does deserve this moment in the spotlight, and that much coveted place on the Scotland squad. Let's hope we'll all be celebrating a few host nation wins!"
“I’m really grateful to all of my coaches and team mates; past the Euros I want to continue to develop and compete, and to finish as high as we can in our league. Being part of women’s football at this moment in time is exciting – if any young girls out there are thinking of taking up the sport I’d simply tell them to work hard and enjoy every single moment. That’s exactly what I intend to do!”
You can keep up to date with Bex and her team mates by following St Johnstone Women FC on twitter.
Together with Sportscotland and the Tayside & Fife Institute of Sport, Live Active Leisure works in developing the additional needs of high achieving athletes in the area.
These are the young athletes who demonstrate the skill and commitment required to represent Scotland and Great Britain on an international stage. Live Active Leisure’s Talented Athletes’ Scheme supports these young people by providing assistance and free access to their venues.
These are the young athletes who demonstrate the skill and commitment required to represent Scotland and Great Britain on an international stage. This enables them to reach their full potential and to achieve world class performance levels. This is about nurturing and developing our local talent by helping these young athletes train and grow in the support network of their home towns and city. By doing this, they hope to inspire other youngsters in Perth and Kinross and to bring that real sense of achievement a city embraces when celebrating the success of one of their own.
Members of the Talented Athlete Scheme can also apply to be part of the Perfromance Squad. The squads are currently full but there is a waiting list in place. Any queries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. These opportunities have been made possible with financial support from both the Gannochy Trust and Sport Scotland.
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