Dale U10 girls crowned National Champions at home of English Football

Date published: 16 July 2018

A team of eight girls from Rochdale and Middleton have received the highest accolade in British youth football, being crowned ESF National Champions at the ESF Grand Finale, held at St George's Park, the home of all the English National football teams.

Dale FC beat Sholing FC 1-0, Newcastle East End FC 1-0 and AFC Porth BGC Clarets 10-0.

The competition was by invitation only and saw the winners of the various ESF tournaments held across the UK earlier in the year battle it out against one another, to determine the best of the elite.

The girls’ journey to St. George’s Park began following their tournament win at Skegness, back in April, where they competed as Rochdale AFC u10s.

The only difference to the squad was the addition of Lilly Dale, replacing Kyra Matthews who was unable to compete due to a wrist injury, though Kyra did attend the Grand Finale to cheer her team on.

The absence of Kyra, the team's goalkeeper, was somewhat of a concern prior to the event, but Gracie-May Smith and Phoebe Clarke stepped up to the mark on the day and ably defended the net in her absence.

Poppy's mum, Seana Madden, said: “I'm so proud of all the girls. They showed great determination, winning every match without conceding a single goal. They all knew what they had to do and worked together really well as a team. Every single one of them played a significant part on the day.”

The Grand Finale win follows on from a successful season in the South Manchester Girls League, where the girls won everything on offer (the League Cup, the Europa Cup, the Challenge Cup) and received their awards at a presentation held at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United.

They won a tournament held at Failsworth and were just pipped at the post at a couple of other tournaments, where they lost out on goal difference or on penalties. In total this season, they have scored 234 goals and conceded just 19.

Emma Smith, mother of Gracie, said: “Despite the obstacles we have had to overcome, we all had a brilliant day. The girls, coached to victory by Adam Foster, Martyn Smith and Dale Matthews, convincingly established themselves as champions of champions and made memories that will last them a lifetime.”

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.