STRATFORD footballer Mollie Rouse has spoken of her pride at breaking into the Aston Villa Ladies senior team as she continues to impress for both club and country.
Mollie has long been a star on the pitch throughout her time at Stratford School, with whom she has won numerous amounts of silverware, but this summer has seen the popular youngster hit new heights having made her bow in the Women’s Super League (WSL) and also represent England Women U17s in the European Championship finals in Iceland in June.
Mollie and her Stratford School girls’ year ten and 11 team-mates made history by reaching May’s English Schools’ Football Association national final for the second time, having won the same competition as a year seven and eight team three years earlier.
However, the achievements did not stop there for Mollie as she continued to impress in a claret and blue shirt for Villa’s U17s ladies’ side, who won the Midlands Girls Centre of Excellence League U17 title for the second successive season and also reached the FA U17 Ladies’ Cup Final, which was played at Stratford Town’s DCS Stadium against Arsenal.
The young Villans were unable to complete a league and cup double as a strong Gunners side emerged 2-1 winners, but for Mollie it was another impressive performance which helped her on the way to her first team breakthrough.
Just a few weeks after returning from her Euros experience in Iceland, Mollie was selected for the senior Villa Ladies side for their WSL Continental Tyres Cup home game against local rivals and top flight outfit Birmingham City, who fielded a full strength team including England trio Karen Carney, Jade Moore and Jo Potter, who weeks earlier had helped the Three Lions to third place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
“To make my senior debut for Villa in the starting XI in that game was a brilliant feeling,” said Mollie.
“As a midfielder I was up against world famous players like Karen Carney and Jade Moore which was amazing. I was more excited than nervous and, even though the result didn’t go the way we wanted, it was a great experience for me to take away.
“I then started in the WSL2 game against Durham which was also great. We lost that game 1-0 but played really well and should have won. I thought I did well in both games and I was happy with that.”
Mollie, who trains as part of the Villa Ladies squad every week and is next week off to an England Women U19s training camp during which the team will play two friendlies against Denmark, is still savouring what has been an action-packed 2015 for her.
“For me, it was brilliant playing in the FA Cup final on home soil at Stratford. There was a really good crowd and as a reward for reaching the final we were invited to parade around the pitch at Wembley before the Women’s FA Cup final, which everyone loved,” added Mollie.
“The European Championships left me with mixed emotions a bit because we lost heavily to Germany in our final group game which meant we just missed out on reaching the semi-finals.
“We had begun with a great 1-1 draw against Spain who ended up winning the tournament and then we beat Iceland 3-1. I played in that game and it was a great occasion in front of a big home crowd as that match had added TV exposure as Iceland were the hosts.”
The 2015 WSL season is drawing towards its conclusion but, with five league matches and some cup games still remaining for Villa, Mollie has plenty to play for.
“My aim for the rest of the season is to keep training hard and hopefully that will get me some more games under my belt,” said Mollie.
“I would like to say thanks to my friends and family who have been really supportive of me. In particular, a big thanks to Club Moativation health and fitness club of Stratford which has provided me with membership to help with my training and football programme. I am very grateful.”