Impetus sponsored Ella Kew, aged 16, has just started her senior football career with tier seven Derbyshire Ladies League Division One side Pride Park. Ella spoke to Ben Gilby about her embryonic footballing career and her aims for the future (30/3/23).
Above: Ella Kew (blue shirt) in possession for Pride Park this season. Photo: Shaun Hardwick.
Ella Kew joined tier seven Derbyshire County League side Pride Park at the start of this season on a dual registration with Duffield Dynamos U18. The attacking midfielder is the youngest member of the Pride Park squad but is already making an impression in her first season in open-age football.
Ella’s journey into senior football at such a young age started back in primary school and the formation of a girls’ team in a nearby village. The Pride Park youngster takes up the story.
“When I was younger, I used to play football with my brother quite a lot because he has always played. I wanted to find a sport to play in primary school and I heard about a new girls’ football team starting at under-nine age group in the local village and I decided to give it a go.
“That was Duffield Dynamos and I have played there ever since now playing at under-18 level, and I’m into my fourth or fifth season as captain too. I’ve played for lots of different teams as well as I have played for two clubs for the majority of my footballing journey.
“Most recently before Pride Park, I played for Mansfield Town and Heanor Town. This season I decided I wanted to play open-age football and I heard about Pride Park being a good division one team to join so I thought I’d give it a go and now I am into my first season at open age.”
Ella, who describes herself as a “creative player” who likes “to play as an attacking midfielder…hold(ing) the ball up and look to make forward passes for the strikers,” believes those early experiences playing the sport with her brother, and his continual support of her development have been key.
“My brother Jack has definitely helped me develop as a player as when I was younger he always played football with me in the garden and taught me new skills. Also, he now coaches Duffield Dynamos which is helping me to develop too. Dave, Jamie, and Ross at Pride Park are also helping me to develop as a player due to the great coaching before during, and after games at the club.”
Ella feels that Pride Park was a great choice for her to start her senior career due to the nature of the setup and their facilities. “Pride Park have a great selection of girls’ and ladies’ teams and it is very encouraging to see young girls get involved in football.
“The facilities playing for Pride Park are excellent, with Moorways being the best grassroots pitch I’ve played at. There are always opportunities to get involved too, it’s an inclusive and friendly club to be a part of.
“There has recently been significant investment in the team by recording matches to help with coaching. It means that as a grassroots club, we are using similar technology and match analysis tools to professional clubs.
“It’s great for the coaches and players to be able to watch things back and have a chance to analyse games – what went well, what didn’t go so well, to try to learn from that and take it into the next game – it helps us all develop as players. It also means we can produce highlights clips which adds an extra level of interest and helps raise the club’s profile when interest in women’s football has never been higher.”
Playing senior football at such a young age comes with several challenges, but Ella is aware of the differences and what she needs to do in order to continue her rapid progress in the sport.
“Being 16 playing first-team football, one thing I have found difficult is adapting to the style of play compared to girls’ football as it is much more composed and technical. This is something that I have just gotten used to the more I play. Also, there have been occasions when I think that I’ve not been strong enough to play women’s football, and to overcome that I just need to work on my physicality when playing.
“At times it can be difficult going to school whilst playing football as it’s hard to maintain a balance, however, football is something that is fun for me not something that I have to push myself to do so it isn’t as difficult as it sounds because of my love for the game.”
Ella highlighted the realities of playing tier-seven football from a financial perspective and the benefits that her sponsorship by Impetus has given.
“As players, we pay monthly subscriptions but the club tries to keep these as low as possible to avoid barriers to participation – as a full-time student still at school that’s something I particularly appreciate.
“However, subscriptions only really cover the team’s day-to-day costs, so sponsorship like this from Impetus enables us to continue to make this investment and to help us develop as players. It wouldn’t be possible otherwise, and I really appreciate your support.”
With the current season entering the home straight, Ella still has a few targets that she wants to meet. “I would like to keep playing competitively and hopefully battle for the top of the league with Pride Park as I believe it is more than in reach. I’d also like to continue being coached and continue gaining confidence playing open-age football and hopefully, next season start off how I’m hoping to finish this one.”
Looking further ahead, Ella has made herself a promise: “I just want to continue playing and loving football. You know, so many people quit playing when they go off to uni and get a job when they just don’t have time anymore and I want to make it my promise to myself that I’ll keep going and progressing as far as I can moving into women’s football. Also thank you for Impetus for the sponsorship this season, it’s really encouraging to receive and drives me to keep playing the best that I can.”