Pupils thrilled to take next step towards England dream

Neale-Wade Academy students Ruby and Holly aim to become an England Lioness

Ruby Lakey (left) and Holly Cook are two of four Neale-Wade Academy students to make progress in their bid to reach the England Lionesses team. - Credit: Kirsty Lakey/Victoria Cook

For two young footballers, they could not be more excited after they made the next step towards becoming an England Lioness. 

Ruby Lakey, who studies at Neale-Wade Academy in March, was first spotted at her primary school by a Peterborough United coach, who encouraged her to attend a training session at Posh. 

From there, Ruby, who has played for Leverington Sports and March Soccer School, then decided to develop her ability at nearby Wisbech Town FC. 

“Ruby was invited to a training session at Wisbech to see how she felt once out on the pitch with the boys, to say she loved it would be an understatement,” Kirsty Lakey, Ruby’s mum, said. 

The 13-year-old also plays for Posh’s under 14s elite team and was, at first, uncertain as to whether trials at Cambridgeshire’s Advanced Coaching Centre (ACC) was the right choice. 

After impressing on the first trial, Ruby, who previously went on a trial at the Northamptonshire ACC, was called back before earning a spot in the squad from September. 

Ruby said: “Everything seemed to feel right and the girls made me feel welcome too, I felt like I was part of the team."

Ruby Lakey in Wisbech Town FC kit

Ruby Lakey currently plays for Wisbech Town's under 13s team and has trained with Peterborough United's under 14s elite squad. - Credit: Kirsty Lakey


Most Read

Kirsty added: “I still don't think it's fully sank in for us - as for Ruby - she cannot wait to get started on all the exciting things to come in the new season.” 

Holly Cook is another Neale-Wade student to progress after applying for the county ACC trials in June. 

Holly, 12, will be one of the youngest in the squad when the season starts but this will not distract her from aiming to go one step further. 

“Holly has played for March Soccer School as a goalkeeper since 2017,” Victoria Cook, Holly’s mum, said. 

Holly Cook will aim to impress once more as part of England Lioness talent pathway

12-year-old Holly Cook will be one of the youngest members at the Cambridgeshire ACC. - Credit: Victoria Cook

“It's a mix of two year groups and Holly will be the young school year of the team, but she already plays for her grassroots team against girls a year older. 

“Holly is absolutely thrilled to have got through to the final 15 girls from nearly 200 applications and she cannot wait to make amazing memories doing what she loves.” 

Ruby and Holly are two of four Neale-Wade students to make progress on the FA’s Lioness talent pathway following trials. 

Samantha Bathurst, head of PE at Neale-Wade Academy, said: “The girls put all their time and effort into their passion and deserve every opportunity available to them.”