Eight of Haslingden’s talented footballers picked to represent Lancashire County teams


AN INCREDIBLE eight footballers from Haslingden High School now also represent Lancashire County teams.

The students, aged 13 to 15, also play for 10 different football teams across Lancashire, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, as well as their school teams, and all have ambitions to gain professional contracts.

Outside of school, most train three or four times a week with matches on top.

PE teacher Nikki Berko, who coaches the school’s football teams said: “To have one Haslingden High student chosen to represent their county is a great achievement, but to have eight Lancashire players is phenomenal.

“The standard of football here is superb and we look forward to a brilliant season both in school and out. Well done, everyone.”

Three 13-year-old students were successful in gaining places on the Lancashire Girls’ U14s team: Dixie Thirde, Darcie Dixon and Senaiya Knill.

Dixie is in her eighth season as a centre-back with Manchester United, and started playing football with Rossendale Valley aged six.

She said: “I do four hours training on a Monday, on a Wednesday I do three hours, Futsal on a Thursday and matches on a Saturday.”

Darcie plays right wing for Accrington Stanley and Pennine FC in Rochdale.

Senaiya said: “I started playing when I was seven for Haslingden Ladies and Girls and I have spent six seasons with Blackburn Rovers.

“I like winning matches and I am quite competitive. I play centre back and I get to play all over the field, it is hard work.

“I have played for Lancashire for two seasons and last year I was Vice-Captain in my first season.”

Callum Chambers, 13, a centre-midfielder, has been playing football since he was six at Rossendale Valley and, from age 11, he has played for Darwen Football Club. He is now also playing for the Lancashire Boys’ U14s team.

Goalkeeper Holly Thomas and centre-midfielder Ocean Flanagan, both 14, and 15-year-old striker Lily Metcalf, all play for Lancashire girls’ U16s team.

Lily is in her third season with Lancashire and has been playing since she was eight,

She said: “I joined Leeds last season, I used to play centre midfielder but they moved me up to striker. Before Leeds I played with Bolton Wanderers and Bury.”

Ocean used to play for Padiham but, when that side folded, she successfully trialed for both Accrington Stanley and Bury. She is currently trialing for the England Schools team.

Holly is already on the England Pathway, attends development days and she trains nearly every night.

Fifteen-year-old Sam Gammack, secured his first ever place on the Lancashire Boys U16s team playing left-wing.

He said: “I have been playing since I was five and I was at Rossendale Valley until I was 14 and been in academies in Blackburn, Burnley and Bury.

“My year at Rossendale Valley folded and I have played for the grassroots team at Bacup for seven years.

“I want to get a scholarship and I will be trialing for Fleetwood on October 26.”