Skip to main content
Published 01 February 2023 8 min read
England Women's Senior Team

Jordan Nobbs' grassroots story

Written by:

Jordan Nobbs

From playing grassroots football with Demi Stokes, Lucy Bronze and Lucy Staniforth to representing England together

My love for football came from my dad, who played professionally for the likes of Hartlepool United, and my mum said I kicked everything as a kid, even when I was teeny tiny. 

I would go to the park with my dad as a kid and he must have seen a talent in me and it grew from there.

My dad has obviously played a massive part in my career and growing up with footballs always in the house definitely helped!

But my family were really laid back about my football and I just had a love for it from day one. I got into it quite young, which helps in terms of carrying on playing it, plus my dad was good at spotting things like when I was playing seven-a-side and thinking it was the right time to move up to 11-a-side to help me develop as quickly as we could. 

But my love of football came from me, it wasn’t like he forced it upon me at all. My brother Liam played a lot as well until he got older and dropped out - my dad always said he would have been a great left-back.

I would play football at school in Bishop Middleham with my mates and then one day they sent letters out to schools to say there is a trial for Sunderland 24/7 and do you want to come along? I obviously went because I was obsessed with football and it snowballed from there really.

That was the day I met Demi Stokes because we both went to the same trial. I was seven and she was eight so we have known each other a very long time!

About 70 girls went and me and Demi turned up about an hour early before anyone else was there, so we were both passing a ball together even back then! It is a crazy moment and we will never forget that time together.

I joined Sunderland 24/7 at the age of 7 and they were obviously a major part of my journey getting into the women’s game.

We had an all-girls team playing in an all-boys league so that was something new and crazy but obviously not a lot of girls played football back then so there weren’t enough girls to have different teams. 

Jordan Nobbs and Demi Stokes met each other when they were young children attending the same trial for their grassroots team
Jordan Nobbs and Demi Stokes met each other when they were young children attending the same trial for their grassroots team

We won the league a few times and it was great for us to play against boys and get the competitive side of things.

We had a very good team and it was competitive. It was tough sometimes but it helped develop me into the player I am now and I loved it.

I then joined Norton and Stockton so I could play 11-a-side football because I knew some of the girls there that played at a good level and it snowballed into playing for Middlesbrough, Sunderland and then England! 

When I was younger, they started England with the Under-15s and I was selected at the age of 12! So I was a little dot and really small but it was great and it was an unbelievable feeling to play for your country at that age and it helped change the way I viewed things and made me want to be a part of it all the time.

Speaking of England, I used to play against Lucy Staniforth and Lucy Bronze when they were at Blyth and even at that age you could tell they were top players.

I had joined the Middlesbrough centre of excellence around the age of 11 or 12 before joining the Sunderland centre of excellence around the age of 16.

My age group was me, Lucy Bronze, Lucy Staniforth and Demi Stokes. That was our little group. And then we had Beth Mead behind us and the likes of Steph Houghton and Jill Scott who we had seen but not been in the same squad as us before moving on.

We then all went to other clubs when Sunderland didn’t get into the WSL but we all have a lot of memories in Sunderland and it was a major part of our journey.

04 Nov 2022 5:18

Bronze & Nobbs | Day Ones

Lucy Bronze and Jordon Nobbs take on the ultimate friendship test!

When I was 16, just before I went to Arsenal, I went to Loughborough University for a year as a lot of the England girls would go to there to train more often because it wasn’t as professional as it is now.

I was only there for a year because then the Women’s Super League happened and your clubs wanted you more often and you had the chance to become a professional.

But it was a great experience, to have that environment and professional staff around us, with the likes of Mo Marley coaching us and a wide range of age groups there. It is an amazing complex and even though it was only a year, it was an amazing opportunity for me.

I was doing a sports development and coaching course BTEC just to keep me ticking over and to get something alongside improving my football. It was a two-year course so I finished it when I went to Arsenal.

And it all started with playing grassroots football and football at school. When I think back to those times, I just loved it. I would play for those teams and my dad was a football coach so in the school holidays I would have five days a week of football with kids from the area, with 40 or 50 kids, and I would always go because I was just obsessed and loved the sport.

Women's and girls' football near you