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School Sport; Smith sets sights on big future

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 February 2015

Dagenham's Olivia Smith is in the English Schools' under-15 squad

Dagenham's Olivia Smith is in the English Schools' under-15 squad

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Barking Abbey pupil on English Schools duty

Former Barking & Dagenham representative Olivia Smith has been selected for the English Schools squadFormer Barking & Dagenham representative Olivia Smith has been selected for the English Schools squad

Barking Abbey schoolgirl Olivia Smith flew out to Portugal on Monday to attend a half-term training camp with the English Schools’ under-15 team.

But the youngster already has her sights set on achieving much more on the international stage.

Former Manor Junior pupil and Barking & Dagenham district representative Olivia Smith has been picked for the English Schools' under-15 squadFormer Manor Junior pupil and Barking & Dagenham district representative Olivia Smith has been picked for the English Schools' under-15 squad

The former Manor Junior pupil will be training in Portugal this week and has been told she will earn at least one international cap in either a friendly fixture against the Republic of Ireland on March 21 in Dublin or in the Bob Docherty Cup in April – a competition featuring England, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

But Smith, who plays for Chelsea girls, is targeting more and aiming to get to the top.

“I didn’t know where it was going to lead when I started playing, but hopefully I can go on now and play for all the England teams until I can’t go any further,” she said.

“That is the dream – to get as far as I possibly can. I want to get in the Chelsea first team, play for England and get a scholarship in America as well.”

Smith certainly doesn’t lack ambition, but is determined to succeed and can take rejection.

After trials witht Arsenal and Chelsea two years ago, Smith missed out on selection.

Millwall was the next option and it was there Smith met her idol and former coach Gilly Flaherty.

She added: “I trialled and went for Chelsea, Millwall and Arsenal, but I only got in Millwall. I got the reserves at Chelsea and Arsenal said no, so I was disappointed with that.

“I went to Millwall for two years and we went to America last summer and played in the Dallas International Cup.

“Me and my team-mate lived with a family and we got to see how they do things in America.

“They get up early before school to do training when it isn’t as hot. We played against some American teams as well and they were very physical and we realised we needed to up our level.

“I was with Gilly in Dallas because she was a coach at Millwall then, but now she is in Chelsea’s first team.”

And after some help from Flaherty, Smith again trialled for Chelsea and Arsenal, adding: “I was close before because I got in Chelsea’s reserves and I ended up getting into both Arsenal and Chelsea.

“It was then a hard decision and I debated it for a couple of weeks before something in my head said pick Chelsea.

“I don’t know what it was exactly, but because I got reserves before I just wanted to go back there and prove myself.”

Smith trains three times a week at Chelsea as well as playing matches and with England credentials now on her CV, the sky appears to be the limit for the Barking Abbey youngster.


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