Chelsea Ladies swoop to add Ipswich Town Ladies youngster to their academy
Blue is the colour for a young Ipswich footballer as she attempts to emulate England’s World Cup stars.
Sixteen-year-old Hollie Clement, who is just finishing her studies at St Joseph’s College, is looking forward to an exciting future after being snapped up by the academy at FA Women’s Super League 1 table-toppers, Chelsea Ladies.
The London club’s president is current men’s skipper John Terry (pictured below) and the ladies train alongside Jose Mourinho’s squad at the Blues’ training ground in Cobham.
Hollie, who has also been called up for Chelsea’ development squad (reserves) to face an American touring side later this month, will be able to continue playing for Ipswich Town Ladies who compete in Premier League, South East Division One, with the Blues’ under-19s’ academy games being played on a Wednesday afternoon.
The teenager’s trips to Ipswich will be few and far between though as she gets set to move to west London where she will combine playing football with studying for a level 3 BTEC qualification.
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A delighted Hollie said: “I was shocked at first and then it sunk in that I would be playing for Chelsea.
“I am a little nervous about living away as I am quite a homely person and enjoy spending time with my family, but I have waited so long for this opportunity.
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“I would like to get into Chelsea Ladies’ first or reserve team when I have finished, while I also have the goal to try out for England’s age group teams.”
The midfielder’s emergence as a hot young prospect comes at a perfect time, with England having finished third at the aforementioned World Cup, only missing out on a final spot courtesy of some cruel luck which saw Laura Bassett score a last-minute own goal in the semi-final defeat to Japan.
“I have wanted to do it since I was quite young but I wasn’t sure it was the best thing for me to do, but the game is starting to grow and people are getting really interested in it,” she added.
“The game is starting to get bigger.
“You had the Olympics which was successful, then there has been the World Cup. So many people are watching it compared to before.”
Hollie, who will spend two years with Chelsea academy, began playing football at a young age and has also competed across the Channel as a result of living in France for 10 years with mum Victoria, who is a former footballer and current Ipswich & East Suffolk Hockey player, dad Paul, the chair of governors at St Jo’s, and siblings Emily, Harry and Thalia.
“I played up front for a long time, which was my preferred position, before going to a centre of excellence in Toulouse, in France where I began playing centre midfield. I enjoyed that as it gave me the chance to get involved a bit more,” explained Hollie, who has also represented Essex, and Colchester United’s academy.
“I played a year in defence and now I am playing on the wing. I don’t worry about scoring, I quite like to set things up.”
Hollie starts with Chelsea in September and is anticipating a busy summer ahead before her hectic schedule with the Blues begins.
“I’ll be training twice a week, there will be one session of strength and conditioning and we will be playing our games on Wednesdays. I also want to try and continue playing for Ipswich as much as I can,” she added.
“Fitness-wise it will be a challenge, and I am waiting to receive my summer training programme from Chelsea, it will be a much bigger step than I have taken before.
“I do have some experience though, having gone from playing junior games to playing with fully-grown women at Ipswich in a short space of time.
“I wasn’t prepared at first but I have since become stronger and that helped as you get knocked about a bit more than playing with 16-year-olds.
“I seem to thrive when the pressure is on, knowing if I don’t perform I may not make it.”