07 May Hendon FC Girls look to defend ACES Nationals title
We caught up with Hendon FC Girls Manager Ben Moore to re-live how they became Girls Under 14 Champions (Representing North London).
North London finished joint-top of a tight Group K, along with Solihull on six points beating Runcorn 2-0 and Burton 1-0 along the way. In the play-off, a 1-0 victory over Glamorgan was enough for a semi-final against Leicester who North London defeated 2-0.
In a tense final that ended 0-0 against Washington, the subsequent penalty shootout was won 5-4 and Hendon FC Girls became the first Champions from London in the Pitchero ACES Nationals.
Great to be back to defend your title and how has your season been?
It’s awesome to be back with the chance of defending our title this year in the ACES Nationals’ 10th year anniversary! This season for Hendon has been full of new focus and team & individual development.
Playing up an age group in a new county league top division, there have been so many fantastic opportunities and experiences to learn from.”
What did winning the Nationals mean for you and your team?
We applied to enter the ACES Nationals last season for the first time, as we had heard so many positive reviews about other teams’ experiences.
Coming to the tournament last June with no expectations and just looking to enjoy the day (challenging ourselves against new, top opposition from all over the UK), it still puts a huge smile on our faces every time we think of Hendon walking away as champions.
It has certainly led the team to having a new belief in themselves, that they can achieve something huge when they focus on preparing in the best way possible.
Apart from the winning, what was the best part of your day at the Nationals?
The whole experience for the players of being together in a new city, staying there for the weekend and playing football against and meeting new people (through the common interest of football) was what made the ACES Nationals such an unforgettable experience.
What are you looking forward to most at the 2018 Pitchero ACES Nationals?
The whole squad are looking forward to having time together away from their normal environment, especially as they get to challenge themselves playing against new teams.
Do you think you can retain the title?
There’s a lot of exciting football leading up to and in the ACES Nationals. We’ll prepare in the same way we always do, taking it one day at a time and enjoying every moment to the fullest with no expectations.
Finally, any advice to teams entering for the first time?
If I could give any credible advice to a team coming to the ACES Nationals for the first time (as we did last year), I’d say prepare in the best way possible with great focus on development in training sessions and matches, try to enjoy every moment of the experience throughout the weekend – especially being able to meet new people from all over the UK!