Published 05 August 2022 5 min read
England Women's Senior Team

'I hope people all over the world see this and encourage young kids to follow their dreams'

Written by:

Frank Smith

England defender Jess Carter hopes the Lionesses' UEFA Women's EUROs win leaves a lasting legacy 

Jess Carter is hoping England’s EUROs victory will encourage more children to follow their dreams and help in the bid to ensure equal opportunities for kids from all backgrounds.

Carter was a member of the Lionesses squad who beat Germany 2-1 in Sunday’s UEFA Women’s EURO Final.

There were more than 87,000 in Wembley Stadium, with 17.4 million people watching on BBC One and 5.9 million streaming the game on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.

It meant Sunday’s Final was the highest attended match in EUROs history – for men and women – and the most watched women’s football fixture ever in the UK.

The attendance at Wembley Stadium on Sunday was the highest for any EUROs match in history
The attendance at Wembley Stadium on Sunday was the highest for any EUROs match in history

England’s win over Germany was then followed by a victory celebration in Trafalgar Square, which was attended by more than 7,000 and broadcast on the BBC.

Speaking at the event, Carter said: “For us, we want to inspire the next generation. We want to inspire everybody but to be able to have little kids look up to us and say ‘I want to be them’ and ‘I can be them’ is really special.

“For me, I just hope that people all over the world see this and encourage young kids to get involved, play football and follow their dream.”

Carter lived minutes from Birmingham City Women’s home ground growing up but has spoken in the past of ‘never having a dream of playing women’s professional football because I didn’t know it could be a thing’.

And recently Kay Cossington, the FA’s Head of Women’s Technical, explained how one of the organisation’s key aims is to provide greater access for more players whilst diversifying the talent pool.

01 Aug 2022 18:46

England Champions Party | Trafalgar Square


The Lionesses players celebrate with their fans after the UEFA Women's EUROs win

Two weeks ago it was confirmed the first 60 Girls’ Emerging Talent Centre [ETC] licences have been allocated, which will see the number of young female players engaged in FA programmes across the country rise from 1722 to over 4200 by the end of the 2023-24 season. 

These numbers also present a 59 per cent increase based on the actual number of FA programmes, going from 39 programmes to 60, enabling greater access for players across the country. 

The FA recently unveiled plans to grow its existing talent programme for women’s football, with the introduction of up to 70 Girls’ ETCs, aiming to provide a wider and more diverse talent pool for the game.

And Carter is among those hoping to see more diversity in the England national team and Player Pathway moving forward.

She said: “In my opinion, there needs to be more access for everybody and that is where it starts. It is not about your race or whatever. It is about everybody having equal opportunities so people can prove why they should play for England.

“I think if everybody had equal opportunities and equal access then I think there wouldn’t be any complaints. Hopefully, we can have big steps in the right direction in order to make it happen.”

The England defender helped the Lionesses to a 5-0 win over Northern Ireland at EURO 2022
The England defender helped the Lionesses to a 5-0 win over Northern Ireland at EURO 2022

Head coach Sarina Wiegman started the same XI for each of England’s matches at EURO 2022 but, along with a host of the players, hailed the importance of the whole squad.

Carter came on as a substitute to help the Lionesses beat Northern Ireland 5-0 in the Lionesses’ third group game and was one of the many players challenging the starting XI in training each day.

And the 24-year-old said: “I have not been to any tournaments before so I don’t know what it was like previously but to me, that felt like the most together team. Obviously from my point of view of not getting too many minutes, the work ethic that the girls [who didn’t start the games] have put in day in and day out has been phenomenal. 

“We all came together and did the absolute best that we could. With the blowouts after the games the next day, everyone is waking up thinking we don’t want to do this but everyone put in so much effort to make it the best session that they could and did the best we could to be the best team-mates.

“I would like to think that it has clearly paid off.”

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