Women's Team

Houghton’s pride for Team GB’s City centre

Houghton’s pride for Team GB’s City centre
Steph Houghton says she could not be more proud to be part of such a strong City contingent within Team Great Britain’s Olympic squad.

Eleven of the 18-player team in Tokyo will be made up of members of Gareth Taylor’s FA Cup-winning side – more than 60% of the line-up – with ten Lionesses plus Scotland international Caroline Weir.

Houghton, who starred in the London 2012 Olympics – the only previous occasion in which women’s football has been showcased in the Games – asserts the selection cements her Club’s staunch ambition of developing young British talent, which she hopes will aid Team GB’s chances of success.

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“It’s a fantastic achievement,” she declared. “A lot of our players have had great seasons and the fact there are so many City players can only help Team GB.

“We already have those relationships, playing together every single day. Hopefully, that stands us in good stead.

“Although ultimately, we wanted more silverware with City last season, in terms of performance and player development, we’ve showed everybody what good players we have here.

“Especially in the run before Christmas to the end of the season, everybody stepped up, taking their opportunity to claim a place in the team.

“A lot of players have done well and that’s important for the development of Team GB and how successful we are.”

One of Team GB’s brightest stars on home soil nine years ago, Houghton netted three goals from defence to help secure a place in the quarter-finals, where the tournament hosts were ultimately defeated by eventual bronze medallists Canada.


                        Houghton’s pride for Team GB’s City centre

Although GB did not clinch a medal, Houghton fondly remembers the tournament and the significant boost it provided women’s football in England, with increased interest, attendances and revenue to follow.

“It was a long time ago!” she laughed, “But when people ask me what my favourite tournament has been – and I’ve been fortunate to be in so many – I have to say: the Olympics were special.

“There’s no better feeling than having the whole country behind you. No matter what sport you play, if you’re wearing Team GB’s colours, everyone supports you.

“For women’s football, London 2012 was pivotal. It showed we can attract crowds. The level of respect has grown so much over the last few years.

“I always say that the way you get women’s football to be respected is by putting it in the spotlight, showing people the quality of football and how the game has developed.

“It provided a platform for us to build the league from and we’ve certainly done that over the last nine years.”

Looking to surpass their last eight finish last time out, Team GB face Chile, Japan and Canada in the group stage.


                        Houghton’s pride for Team GB’s City centre

For Houghton and co. though, this tournament is about more than the medals – it’s about helping inspire the next generation, as the current crop of players look to further brighten the future of the ever-growing sport.

“It’s a great chance for Team GB to show what good footballers we have, what we bring to women’s football and how our game has grown,” she added.

“As a team, we want to go out there and show we’re a great team, getting people more excited about women’s football, encouraging people to invest and support the game as much as we can.

“Women’s football is one of the most popular sports – not just in this country but all over the world – and now we have things in place where young girls can come through and be part of something that can be unbelievable in the next few years.

“It’s exciting. We’ll do all we can to be able to provide matches of unbelievable quality and entertainment and hopefully, we’ll be going for gold!”

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