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CORI DANIELS – SHE PLAYS FOOTBALL TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

How and when did you get into football?

From as early as I can remember I have always had an interest in football. My dad is a massive football fan and football was always on the tv. Having an older and younger sister who weren’t interested in sport I didn’t really have anyone to play football with! So I guess it all started in the school playground with the boys! As you can imagine, a girl playing football in the playground was rarely seen back then, but I didn’t care I just wanted to play.

How did you get scouted?

As a child Charlton Athletic Community Trust held after-school and weekend clubs in Thanet. I used to attend these and that’s where my football journey started. I was scouted by former Charlton Athletic goalkeeper, Bob Bolder at the age of 11. Bob along with my Dad took me for a trial for their centre of excellence. I got in! I played for Charlton Athletic Ladies’ first team at the age of 14 making my debut against Liverpool.

Bob and I have always kept in close contact throughout my career and have been able to work together running various community projects.

Who have you played for?

I started playing for my primary school (Newlands) at first, I was the only girl! There was a local ladies team (Margate ladies) who I would train with. I couldn’t play as I was too young! I then had my trial at Charlton and got in!

I played for Charlton until I was 16. At the age of 16 Arsenal Ladies approached me asking if I would like to join them and go to the Arsenal Academy in St Albans. At the age of 16, I left my family home in Thanet to pursue my career in football. I was playing for Arsenal at their academy every day whilst studying for a BTEC in Sports Science. I made my Arsenal first-team debut at the age of 16 against my old team Charlton! Whilst at Arsenal I was lucky enough to play in the champions league we travelled to Russia, Germany, Holland and Tunisia.

After a long spell at Arsenal, I knew it was time to move on so at the age of 21 Watford ladies signed me where I became club captain. We had great success at Watford. I knew Charlton Athletic was where I wanted to end my career as a player, so at the age of 25, I resigned from my childhood club. After much consideration, I decided to end my career at the age of 27.

Who have you played with?

I played with and against some unbelievable players. For me though, Kelly Smith is the best player I have played with. What she could do on the pitch was just incredible, I had never seen a female player as good as her. I have also been lucky enough to play with Alex Scott, Lianne Sanderson, Jayne Ludlow, Faye White and many more.

Being a young player in an environment with such stars of the female game at that time was an unbelievable period of learning for me as a player and a person. I wanted to know what these world-class players knew. I watched what they did on the ball and off the ball, I watched how players carried themselves away from training and tried to absorb everything I could.

What’s your biggest achievement?

My journey as a whole I honestly feel so lucky and would never take any of the experiences or trophies for granted. Just by kicking a ball, I have been able to travel the world, meet some amazing people and make some of the best memories. However, starting SPF has to be up there with a huge achievement. Being a female in this industry hasn’t been a smooth journey, I feel I have always been underestimated in such a heavily male-dominated sport. I really feel that we are paving the way for females to make their mark and this is something I am so proud to be a part of.

What have you won as a player?

  • FA Women’s Premier League
  • FA Women’s Cup
  • UEFA Women’s Cup
  • FA Women’s Community Shield
  • FA Women’s Premier League Cup

When did you start your coaching badges and why?

I started my coaching badges in 2014 and have been on my coaching journey ever since. I love this saying “I only know what I know…but I want to know what you know, what you know and what you know” and that’s been my quote since I started coaching. I wanted to come across many coaches who could guide me, mentor me, advise me and just open my eyes up to a whole new football world I had never seen before!

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