Hollie Olding is dreaming of World Cup glory with England – now and longer-term.
The 17-year-old from Chichester will be part of England’s squad at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan starting on September 30.
And the ambitious midfield player is already eyeing up a place in the senior England women’s squad for the 2023 World Cup.
She’s come a long way since taking up football at Pompey In The Community sessions at The Arena in Bognor.
Olding played for Bognor Town boys from the age of seven to ten before switching to Brighton, where she was immediately identified as a star of the future.
She stayed with the Seagulls for around seven years, progressing to appearances for the women’s first team last season, and has now signed for Chelsea.
I’ve put so much hard work in and feel this is a reward for it.Hollie Olding
Olding already has a fair bit of international experience, having played her way into the England under-17 set-up early on.
She helped them to success at their European championship in Belarus earlier this year which clinched their place at the World Cup.
Olding, in the second year of A-levels at Chichester High School sixth form, said: “It was fantastic to be picked for the World Cup squad. I was hopeful I would be but you can’t assume anything.
“I’ve put so much hard work in and feel this is a reward for it. All of us can’t wait for the tournament to start.”
England will face Brazil, Nigeria and North Korea in their group and are optimistic they can progress further.
Olding said: “We’re going out there to win it. There will be some very strong teams – like Germany, who are champions, and the USA – but we feel we can compete with the best teams.
“Whether I’ll play I don’t know. It’s a squad of 21 so some will miss out but I’m going to give it everything.”
Olding will have support in Jordan from mum Christine, while other friends and family may fly out to cheer her on if they get to the quarter-final, semi-final and final.
She is determined to establish herself at international level and said: “My ultimate aim is to get into the full England side, and the 2023 World Cup could be a target. You have to aim high.”
Olding was sad to leave Brighton, where she had come on so well as a player, but said the switch to Chelsea should help her development.
“There were some changes at Brighton and although it was a hard decision because Brighton had been like a family to me, I had always wanted to play for Chelsea,” she said.
“They got in contact and after a trial, I got in.
“I’m now playing for Chelsea ladies’ reserves. I love it. There are so many internationals at the club. It’s quite surreal sometimes in training.
“My next aim is to get on to the bench for the Chelsea first team. That’s the next step. “But first I’ve got a World Cup to focus on!”
Olding was a striker and a centre-half before being converted to a midfield role.
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