A love of football for WGC captain Charlotte Wilford-Carroll

Charlotte Wilford-Carroll (WGC) in the 2018 CSW Premier Girls Football final

As the captain of the Wellington Girls’ College First XI football team and her school’s sports prefect, Charlotte Wilford-Carroll has a busy sporting life.

Last month, Charlotte and a group of Wellington footballers joined the New Zealand Women’s U19 Football team at the Dallas International Girls Cup tournament in Texas, her first overseas experience representing New Zealand.

Defending Premier 1 Girls Football champions, Wellington Girls’ College have made a positive start to their 2019 season in Wellington, with wins over Queen Margaret College (9-0) and Wellington East Girls’ College (1-0) and a draw with St Mary’s College (1-1). WGC have the week off this Wednesday, defaulted to by Samuel Marsden Collegiate.

We caught up with Charlotte to find out more about her recent trip and her love of football back home.

What positions do you normally play in football and have you also played other positions in the past?

I normally play centre midfield. I have played there for most of my life but when I was a kid I loved to play striker.

Was your recent trip to the USA with the New Zealand U19 side your first time playing for the country?

Yes, the trip to California and Dallas was my first time with an NZ team – I had never represented NZ before.

Who were the other Wellington region players  in your U19 team that travelled overseas?

There were quite a few Wellington players in the team. Caelin Patterson, Zoe Barrott, Nat Olson and Dani Ohlsson were all from wellington as well as Molly Simmons from Kapiti.

Tell us a bit about your trip?

We went to L.A first for pre-tournament where we trained at L.A galaxy and played a friendly against the California state champions. This was the only football we did before Dallas, as in L.A we mainly did sightseeing. We went to Hollywood sign, walk of fame, Disneyland and so many other cool places. Then we flew to Dallas where we stayed with host families and competed in the Dallas International Cup. We played Georgia state, Dallas Texans and Sola academy in our pool, which we topped. Then we went onto quarter-finals where we played Columbia and lost on penalties. We also played Japan in a friendly.

What challenges did you and your teammates face in the USA?

The main challenge I personally faced was the different styles of play. We had never met or watched any opposition so it was really hard to predict the teams we were playing against, which made them much harder than teams back here. But I think my highlight on the pitch was definitely the game against Columbia, their play style was amazing and to face such difficult opposition was an amazing experience for me.

How long have you been playing football for, what is an early or standout memory of playing or watching from when you were young?

I’ve been playing football for around 11 years. My favourite memory from my early years would have to be playing for Brooklyn with all my friends in my first girls only team, just playing for fun.

You are your school’s captain and a sports leader at WGC?

Yes, I am captain of First XI at WGC and also head of sport at my school. Sports prefect basically involves just looking after sports teams at our school. The committee and I run athletics day, swimming sports and all events at the school, and this year we bought relay for life back for first time in ages. So yeah busy work –  but I love it.

WGC will be going to the Premier Lotto NZSS tournament in September, along with 31 other teams. Is this tournament what you and your team and gearing up for this year? Is a ‘top 10’ finish a goal this year?

Yes, WGC will be going down to Christchurch for the NZSS tournament. It’s such an amazing tournament, the girls are so excited and its a favourite time of the year. We are definitely going for top 10 this year. After finishing 11th last year we are going to push for top 10 at least.

Did you play any of the top schools in this tournament last year? Such as Baradene College (winners) or any of the other strong Auckland schools?

Last year we had tough run with Epsom Girls’ Grammar School who ended up third, and we also played Saint Kentigern College. But it was a great opportunity for everyone and I think we did really well against the top teams.

Back home, who would be a rival team for WGC or a big game you always get up for?

The main rival game in our school league here in Welly would have to be St Mary’s College. They are a very good team and its always tough going facing them. I think it’s the one school WGC always wants to beat and will always go hardest against and same to them they love playing us.

You also play club football for Wellington United? Any other teams you play for as well, so what does your football schedule look like?

Yes, I also play for Wellington United Diamonds. So that season goes until about September, so for the next few months my schedule is just school football games and trainings as well as club games and trainings and then looking on to tournament week. Last season I played in the National Women’s league which runs from September to December, but obviously not sure if I will make it this year, I definitely need to have good club season first.

Do you or have you played other sports in the past?

I have played cricket in the past which I loved as well as futsal, but football is by far my favourite sport in the world.

Do you have any thoughts on what you might be doing next year once you leave school?

Not 100 percent sure what I want to do next year study wise. It’s always been my dream to play for college in America so looking at that option for sure to play and study but not set on what area of study or where I want to go yet.