Everton has helped two local homeless women become international footballers.
Jessica Lomax,19, and Becca Mushrow, 18, have been selected to represent England at the first four-a-side Women’s Homeless World Cup next month in Mexico after participating in a programme run by Everton in the Community.
The two players faced stiff competition but are celebrating selection in the eight-strong squad for October’s tournament. That is in part down to the help of Everton Ladies’ pair, Rachel Brown and Fara Williams, who work as coaches on the programme.
Jessica, from Huyton, said: “It’s a dream and I am still getting my head round it all. It is a great opportunity and hopefully we can do well.
“We have been doing sessions with Rachel and Fara and that has been great. They are a bit of an inspiration to us and maybe one day I could be a professional like them.
“What Everton in the Community are doing is superb and I’d recommend anyone out there in a similar position to me to get involved in something like this.”
The programme not only offers women the chance to play, but is also an opportunity to meet new friends, build confidence and gain recognised qualifications.
Everton and England keeper, Brown, added: “I am not sure the girls realise just how proud of themselves they should be. We have two out of eight from the whole country so it is a great achievement. They have the opportunity to represent England and that is a great honour.
“They are good footballers and have proven themselves to be very dedicated with good team-building skills, and hopefully this will be an experience that can help change their lives.
“The programme that Everton in the Community runs is not just about coming down and playing football. Some of the girls did not know anyone when they came here and it was about meeting new people. Some of them had low self-esteem and it has been about building that back up. Football is a team sport and it can help to build character and that has been a really pleasing outcome for the girls.”