Manchester City defender Abbie McManus has encouraged the next generation of women’s football to aim for the very top and play for club and country, after helping promote The Football Association’s ‘Make Dreams Goals’ competition.
The 24-year-old visited the Academy Stadium on Thursday to assist aspiring young girls by posting their football dreams via special postboxes, which have been set up at Manchester City and Birmingham City ahead of Monday’s SSE Women’s FA Cup semi-finals.
McManus, who is an England Under-23 international, praised The FA’s new campaign and had some wise words for the any inspired youngsters after speaking exclusively to Shoot!, “I have been upstairs and helped the little girls post their dreams, some of them have gone and said they want to play for [Manchester] City.
“I have gone over to a lot of them and said, ‘You don’t just want to play for City, you have got a country to play for [too]’.
“Yeah I have come far, playing for a boy’s team, then Bury Ladies and now I am at City, but the dream doesn’t stop.
“My next dream is to get an England senior call-up. Yeah, I play for a fantastic club, but the dream never stops.”
The centre-half, who has returned from a serious ankle injury, admits she owes her success to elder brother Scott (Halifax Town) after tagging along to his training sessions when growing up, before joining a boy’s team herself.
Considering the women’s game’s huge growth in the UK, McManus said “it is a great feeling” to be seen as a heroine for aspiring young girls.
“For me as a young child, because women’s football wasn’t like it is now, I didn’t have that [role models],” she added.
“I was looking at the men’s teams and saying that I wanted to be like Vincent Kompany.
“But now it is good to have somebody that is a little bit more realistic, as if to say that these girls can actually do what I have done or what Toni Duggan is doing, going to the Euros.
“It is great to see those little kids’ faces.”
The FA’s ‘Make Dreams Goals’ initiative aims to encourage young football fans to share their footballing dreams, before turning a chosen few into reality. Entrants have until Monday, April 17, to submit their dreams with postboxes present on matchday at the Academy Stadium or online at www.thefa.com/makedreamsgoals.