A pupil at Dame Allan’s Schools, Fenham, has just completed a season training at an elite England football academy.
Lillie Quinlivan Coulson, a year 10 student at the Newcastle independent school, was selected by the Football Association to train at the England under-15 national talent camp.
She also plays for the Independent Schools’ Football Association under-16s and recently captained the side against the English Schools’ Football Association.
This season, alongside her Sunderland squad and ISFA participation, Lillie also played in the under-16 Northumberland squad, helping the team win the Northern Counties Cup for the first time in its history.
Now, having just turned 15, Lillie is the youngest member of the under-16 girls’ squad at Sunderland & Gateshead regional talent club, where she has trained in the academy for five years.
Despite preparing to take her GCSE exams next summer, she manages to dedicate at least 20 hours to football each week, be that travelling or training.
“I’ve played since I was six-years-old and absolutely love it,” said Lillie.
“I train in Sunderland four evenings a week and play a match most weekends, so it is a huge commitment – but my family, friends and school are all supportive.”
As central as football is to her life, and despite the women’s professional game becoming an increasingly viable career option, Lillie’s mother insists that sport is not her daughter’s be all and end all.
“While her dream is to play football professionally, Lillie is on a dual career pathway and works incredibly hard off the pitch, with plans to perhaps forge a career in business or finance,” said Ann Quinlivan Coulson.
Will Scott, Principal of Dame Allan’s Schools, has been impressed by his pupil’s resolve to find the right balance.
“Lillie is such a dedicated football player who should be incredibly proud of her achievements on the pitch,” he said.
“When pupils, such as Lillie, show an innate talent in sport, it’s important for us to ensure it’s supported around their academic studies and co-curricular enrichment. Thankfully, Lillie manages that balance exceptionally well herself.”