Manchester City Women’s player Esme Morgan in action.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup will feature 16 girls teams competing for trophies across two days of exciting action on February 18 and 19.
And as the countdown to the event begins, Manchester City Women’s player Esme Morgan says competitive football is vital to the progress of the sport for girls.
Morgan, 22, said: “Competitive tournaments are so important! When I was younger, I wasn’t aware of many large competitions outside of school, which included many young female footballers.
“But nowadays it’s great that young girls are surrounded by opportunities to play football. Competitive environments are so much fun too. They give you a taste of winning and help you build special bonds with those you play with!”
The defender, who joined Manchester City at under-15s level, also spoke about how much has changed in women’s football in the last few years.
She added: “Women’s football has changed so much in recent years – when I was younger, I thought I’d just play with the men’s team and be there alongside the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips! Nowadays though, young girls can aspire to have a career as a professional footballer.
“Having access to tournaments like the Abu Dhabi Cup from a young age is so important to helping to develop those girls as players and give them a competitive edge as early as possible to help them hopefully achieve their dreams in the future.”
The fourth edition of the highly anticipated Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup will feature more than 130 teams from across 15 countries.
Morgan said: “Having a variety of nationalities coming together for a tournament like this is really special — it allows young players to learn from each other and share their different experiences and skills to help improve their abilities on the pitch, as well as building friendships with those from different cultures.
“You only have to look at the mix of nationalities that we have here in the women’s and men’s teams at City – it’s undoubtedly something that makes us stronger teams both on and off the pitch.
“You never stop learning as a footballer and surrounding yourself with players from different cultures and backgrounds is something that can only support that education.”
When asked about advice for young female players, she added: “Dream big. For many players in the professional game right now, forging a full-time career in the game wasn’t a possibility for a long time, but now, it truly is. If you’re dedicated and work hard, the possibilities are endless and I’m so excited to see what the coming years hold for girls and women’s football in the UK and beyond.
“Above everything, be sure to enjoy your football. If you are playing with a smile on your face and having fun, then you will play your best.
“Also, be sure to listen to your coaches – they are there to help you to grow and develop, and with their support, you’ll have an amazing time and come out of the tournament with new skills.”