At just 17 years old, it’s been a dream start to 2015 for Centre of Excellence graduate Chloe Cavengh. Having received a call up to the first team for Gillingham Ladies Women’s Cup semi-final, the youngster grabbed her opportunity with both hands, earning praise from Manager Simon Ratcliffe.
The Gills boss decided to keep Cavengh involved with the starting eleven and she led the line alongside Lauren Phillips as the team traveled to Portsmouth in the FA Women’s Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
“Being called up for the first team is a massive achievement.” Chloe said after Gills slipped to a 3-o defeat. “I’ve only been with the Reserves since the start of the season, so to be called up to the first team within a few months of playing is huge for me.”
Cavengh has been a part of Gillingham Football Club since she was 12 and revealed she takes great pride in wearing the shirt for the club’s most senior women’s team.
“As soon as I moved down to Kent I joined Gillingham. I was selected for the Centre of Excellence and started there from the Under 12s all the way to the Under 17s.”
“I love doing what I do, playing football and making it to the first team means a lot to me. At the Centre there were changes of coaches as you progressed, so you got to learn difference techniques and approaches, formations and so on. Being at the Reserves and First Team we are all taught to play a certain style. We all train together to help us play and learn together which is really helpful.”
Learning so much during her time at Gills is what drives the talented Centre graduate to enjoy every moment of women’s football so far: “I’ve learnt a lot in such a short space of time. The amount I’ve taken on being involved with the first team, they have good experience and that helps you so much throughout games and has such a positive impact on your during the match too.”
“Personally, I’ve gained more confidence on the ball. Especially because of the first team – they are so supportive, when you get the ball they’re always helping you on. One of my problems beforehand was to do with confidence but since being involved with the Reserves and the First Team I really feel it’s come on.”
Cavengh heaped praise upon her strike partner Phillips, whose experience and excellent coaching qualifications have really helped her slot into the team.
“The manager asked Pottsy and I to work together to create chances when we were on the ball. When I get the call up that’s all I can do really, listen to Simon’s instructions, try my best and I think I did what I needed to do today.”
“It’s brilliant for me playing alongside Lauren. I’ve never actually played up front before! During my time at the Centre I played a more attacking midfield role, a number 10 type, so I’ve come in and straight away Potts is always talking to me, helping me with my positioning. I don’t know the positioning of a forward as well as her, so she tells me scenarios and it’s really good to have that throughout.”
So how is Cavengh enjoying the more attacking role?
“I enjoy it. Obviously playing the role of trying to get goals for the team is a big responsibility, where I’ve played in the Reserves, I naturally want to track back and help defend but I’m trying to keep pushing up.”
Pushing ahead personally and as part of a team, Cavengh was clear that whilst the team were bitterly disappointed with the 3-0 defeat at Portsmouth, team morale was high and the performance encouraging.
“At the end in the changing rooms we all said how we’re beginning to gel and play better as a unit, playing and fighting for each other too which is important. The scoreline was a bit harsh. Their goals weren’t through patterns of play, it was more like hit and hope and unfortunately that’s what undid us today. We worked well for each other and it was just an unfortunate result.”
If you’d like to sponsor Chloe for the rest of the season please contact firstname.lastname@example.org