England and Everton football ace Natasha Dowie to visit Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 09:36 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:22 24 January 2010
England Ladies footballer Natasha Dowie, niece of former Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie, will be coming to Times Territory to coach youngsters and promote women’s football.
ENGLAND and Everton Ladies striker Natasha Dowie will be heading to Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield to help promote girls football.
With family roots firmly in Times Territory, the 21-year-old is excited about going into schools within the area.
Natasha will be working with Stevenage Borough FC in meeting and coaching youngsters around the region.
Speaking to the Welwyn Hatfield Times, she said: “I’ve struggled with work in the past because of my England commitments, but Stevenage have been able to offer me some on the women’s side.
“I should be working in the Welwyn area in schools and on soccer camps which is really exciting.”
The pacy forward, whose parents hail from Hatfield, has football in her genes.
Her dad Bob was an experienced non-league player with the likes of St Albans City and went on to coach at Crystal Palace when his brother Iain Dowie was first team manager there.
However, Natasha is making waves in her own right in the women’s game.
After spells with Watford, Fulham and Charlton Athletic she has settled with Everton Ladies and is hoping they are to become the country’s next major force in women’s football.
She said: “Mo Marley, the England manager at the time, invited me to join Everton from Charlton, I had a few other offers from more local teams like Arsenal.
“It was tempting but I thought I’d quite like to go to a team that could knock Arsenal off their pedestal in women’s football.”
The Merseysiders are taking steps to do just that.
In December the Toffees beat the Gunners 2-1 in the Women’s FA Premier League Cup semi-final, with Dowie netting Everton’s opener.
Natasha and her team-mates will face Leeds Carnegie in the final next month.
Now playing at the highest level in this country, the youngster recalls how she became involved in the sport.
“My dad and uncle got me involved in football in my area and I was the only girl that played in my primary school team,” she said.
“Since I was younger women’s football has improved massively in England and they are hopefully starting a superleague next year which should be exciting.
“When you compare our game to other countries like America there is still a long way to go but we are getting there.”
The FA have handed central contracts to 17 England internationals, although not Natasha, to help them focus on their football.
The Everton ace fully supports this initiative.
“It gives the players a reward for what they have done in the past, a lot of them have full-time jobs and try to fit in their training, it allows them to go part-time on their work, focus on their training and they get paid a bit of money as well,” she added.
For now Dowie is knuckling down to her football and spreading the word about the women’s game in Hertfordshire.