Skip to main content
Published 19 February 2024 5 min read
England Women's Senior Team

Maya Le Tissier: From Guernsey to the England squad

Written by:

Maya Le Tissier

The England and Manchester United defender charts her journey from a junior team on the Channel Island to the Lionesses and BWSL

Channel Islander Maya began her footballing journey in Guernsey before moving over to the mainland to pursue her career
Channel Islander Maya began her footballing journey in Guernsey before moving over to the mainland to pursue her career

My footballing journey is a bit different to most people.

I'm from Guernsey and played for St Martins back home, the whole way through youth football.

I joined when I was four and then stayed with them all the way through and was playing U18 football when I then left the island at 16 – along with playing for Guernsey and teams over here in England.

My dad played semi-professional football when he was in the RAF and living over here, for teams such as Windsor and Eton, and he was my main coach from the age of four at St Martins all the way through until I left the island.

When I was playing for Guernsey or a couple of teams over here in England, I had different coaches but he always was my main coach so receiving my first England call-up in 2022 was a special moment for both of us and I’m sure he is proud of his coaching and his efforts as well!

I started travelling over to England to play for girls teams around the age of 11 or 12. I remember I went away with Guernsey and I wasn’t actually meant to be on the tour at U11s and we went to play the Southampton boys’ academy team. I remember one of their coaches was like ‘you need to come over here and see if you can get into a team’.

04 Oct 2023 4.17

Read my lips: Maya Le Tissier & Katie Zelem

The England and Manchester United team mates take on our challenge with hilarious consequences

So my mum and dad found Hampshire and I played for them for two years when I was about 11 until 13 and flew over twice a month. I would fly over on Thursdays and miss school to train and then play Saturdays. I did that once or twice a month for two years later the FA but I was still missing too many sessions and games so we had to stop. I was so gutted at the time.

It was important to stay playing in England so my mum and dad, with the FA’s help, found the South West Regional Camp, which was a scheme for players who didn’t have access to teams all the time in places like Devon.

That was where I first met Katie Robinson, for example, which made our call-ups together even more special. Our families speak still and to have one of your best mates in the England senior camp with you makes it even nicer.

I did that for two or three years, where I would fly over once a month and stay for the weekend. That was where I got picked up by England NPC and U15s. From there I moved to Brighton and moved away from Guernsey.

I used to love flying over. I got to spent time with my mum or dad and I remember we would always stay at the hotel and then walk around the corner to a little Premier corner shop and get some sweets. Then after the game we would go to this pizza shop around the corner where there was a buy-one-get-one-half-price deal.

It was the little things and then getting to go to the Southampton games as well with my dad and my mum. I loved it. My dad knew some of the staff there from being connected with Guernsey and from when they would play Southampton, so we would go to the games.

Maya with her mum during a trip to Slovenia with England WU17s in 2018, c/o @MayaLeTissier on Instagram
Maya with her mum during a trip to Slovenia with England WU17s in 2018, c/o @MayaLeTissier on Instagram

One of the other lads who was a year younger than me, Alex Scott – who is now at Bournemouth, used to do the same thing so we used to travel over together and would always be playing football in the hotel and stuff like that.

When I look back to grassroots football, I loved it. All the lads saw me as just another one of them. They didn’t go easy on me and I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed it. We have such a good community spirit back home.

Like I mentioned, I played for St Martins all the way through so I know everyone who ran it so well and it's really nice to be able to give something back to them. Even when I am back home for pre-season, I'm able to use their pitches and things like that, which is really nice of them. I love St Martins, they are great.

I think some players like going through the academies but if I was to give a young girl some advice, I would say go and play grassroots football with the boys because it does so much for you.

I was playing boys’ football until U18 level, when they are basically men so it was physical and playing with the boys helped make me the player I am today.

In Guernsey, there was no set player pathway to play for England get into the international pathway. So I'm proud that I've helped to create a pathway that other girls and boys can look at.

In action for the Lionesses during the Arnold Clark Cup campaign of 2023
In action for the Lionesses during the Arnold Clark Cup campaign of 2023

I had so much support from back home. Guernsey is a great place in terms community spirit and helping raise sponsorship and things like that, so I was very lucky and thank you to everyone who has supported me and I hope they can see that it has paid off.

Now a couple of other Guernsey girls have been to the South West Regional Camps, which is really nice to see, and there has been another Guernsey girl in the Brighton U21s, so it's nice to see the path being used and hopefully it's one which helps the boys as well.

It's really good to be a role model for girls and boys back in the Channel Islands because they don’t get that many opportunities to show what they are about. Obviously Matt Le Tissier did it quite a while ago, but there wasn’t really a pathway so hopefully they see that I've done it and know that they can do it too.

Obviously making my England debut and signing for Manchester United are very big achievements but I think my biggest achievement might be what I have helped do for the kids from Guernsey.