Earlier this month England Women u16’s travelled to Portugal to take part in a tournament against Germany, The Netherlands and Italy with Devon based Mia Endacott selected as part of the England squad. Mia has been part of the England Lioness Pathway for some time, but this was the next step for her in her early football career. We spoke to Mia about her experience with the England squad and as she wore the number six shirt for England in this tournament, we decided to ask her six questions!
1) You’ve been involved in many different camps now with England at various age groups and levels. How did you feel this time around when you received the call up to be part of the squad for an International tournament in Portugal?
I was at school in a lesson when I found out I had received a call up for England, my mum sent me a screenshot of the email. I was excited and proud of myself for making the squad in an international tournament. I have been on many camps but this one just felt different because it was my first tournament for England so it felt more special this time round.
2) What was the experience of playing in a foreign country like? Away from the actual games, what else did you get up to whilst away with the squad?
A typical day on camp starts with wellness check in, followed by breakfast and team meeting. Travel to training, pre-activation then training. Afterwards we would go back to the hotel followed by recovery in the outdoor pool. This is all before lunch! After lunch we would have a game review, followed by rest, and an education session. We’d have dinner together and then some free time in the evening. On one evening, we had a social evening where all teams in the tournament got together for a UEFA’s got talent……England won of course!! Whilst away from training and games, we were able to go to the beach for some social time with the team and staff
3) How did it feel lining up in that first game against Germany in the starting XI and hearing the national anthem?
I wasn’t meant to start the game for Germany but due to an injury I was called in, on the morning of the game and told I was going to start. It’s always a proud moment hearing the national anthem and was even better knowing that my mum and Grandparents were in the stadium watching. What made it more special was lining up, and standing in the tunnel, waiting to walk out onto the pitch. These tournaments get you prepared for when you move up through the ages and take part in the European or world championships, so when you go, it isn’t a daunting experience for you!
4) You played in all three games, against Germany, The Netherlands and then Italy. Who were the toughest opponents? Did the teams have different styles?
Every team we played have a different style of play and we adapt ourselves to each teams style of play. Germany where definitely our toughest opponents because they where faster and stronger on the ball and kept the ball moving well making it difficult to break them down
5) Back in England you represent many different teams (Devon FA Girls’ ETC, Lakeside Athletic, Plymouth Argyle Girls’ Development Centre) as well as playing school football regularly for Eggbuckland and this season in the Devon Schools FA. How do you manage all this? What support have you got to help you with this?
My mum is my biggest support she scarifies a lot to take me to everything I do. I train six days a week with various clubs. I do individual one-to-one sessions twice a week and then play for Lakeside on a Saturday. I have to manage my time well to ensure I stay on top of school work as sometimes I don’t get home till gone 10 pm of an evening! I have great support from my school, Eggbuckland Community College who are very understanding with my commitments to football. I am also supported by Sports Aid where they try and find funding for me. Last year I was supported by Starling Bank which definitely helped a little with the financial strains of football and this year I am part of Backing the Best and again hopefully have some more support this year
6) You have achieved a lot in your early football career with hopefully loads more success stories to come. But if you could go back in time and speak to yourself as an 8 or 9 year old Mia who had just started her football journey, what would be the key messages you would give?
My key message to myself would be keep working hard and follow your dreams, work on the areas of weakness and never give up. What worked brilliantly for me was playing in boys football from a very young age. Boys football is a lot faster and stronger so I was constantly being challenged and having to push myself. Focusing on other attributes besides just playing football has also helped me greatly. I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently as everything I have done and every hurdle or barrier I have faced has got me to this point, and I am very grateful of that.