Ladies are the right fit

Denise O'Sullivan, Ella Stephan and Julie Nelson are hard at work.
Denise O'Sullivan, Ella Stephan and Julie Nelson are hard at work.

A trio of Glasgow City’s stars are stepping up their training in their bid for European glory.

Defenders Julie Nelson (28), Ella Stephan (24) and striker Denise O’Sullivan (20) were signed earlier this year by the club, which hopes to make their mark in the Champions League this August.

The ladies moved to Shawlands from England, Russia and Ireland respectively and will receive free memberships at Nuffield Health in Giffnock as part of the gym’s ongoing support of the club.

Founder and club manager Laura Montgomery is delighted with the funding boost.

She told The Extra: “It is a state of the art gym and health centre and allows the girls everything they need in terms of strength and conditioning as well as rest and recovery.

“Female sport receives less than five per cent of the commercial sponsorship that is invested in sport in this country.

“Our club has some of the most talented athletes in Scotland, so it is fantastic to benefit from this partnership.”

Glasgow City dominated the domestic game in recent years, winning seven consecutive domestic league titles and three Scottish cups in a row.

However, the club has faced a tougher test in the Champions League. They have been unable to make it past the last 16.

Ella, who joined the club from FC Ryzan, has played for the USA at under-17, under-20 and under-23 level.

She told ExtraSport: “As well as training four times a week we are all working hard in the gym with Europe in mind. It’s a full time job. While the domestic league might be less challenging, we have to continue to perform so we are ready. If we become complacent, we won’t get better.”

Denise, who signed from Cork, added: “It’s a big step up from football in Ireland. Training is one of the hardest parts, the competition for places is unlike anything I have been involved with.

“We even play training games against male teams which is always interesting!”

As well as their duties on the pitch, the professionals are responsible for spreading the word of football to young girls in the community.

Julie, a former Everton stopper, has been pleased with the response.

She said: “A lot of the teachers ask us to chat to the girls and tell them it’s OK to like football.

“That usually makes a big difference as they can see for themselves that girls do play.

“They really get stuck in. It’s great to see how keen they are. The only way to develop football is to get kids involved.”

A southside school pupil made his debut at the home of British cricket when he appeared at Lords, last week. Andrew Umeed (18) starred with Scotland Cricket XI when they beat the MCC by a single wicket.

Andrew was Scotland’s third top scorer, with a creditable 21 runs and has just been chosen for the Warwickshire County Cricket Academy.