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Essex Under-14s Schools pair Zoe Dorrington and Evie Clarke, both of Colchester United Ladies FC, have had extra reason to celebrate in 2012 after receiving international recognition at Under-15 level.
Just prior to the duo combining to fire Essex to victory in the English Schools' FA Under-14s Inter-County Trophy final against Lancashire in May, the County's skipper Dorrington appeared for the full England Under-15s side in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, vice captain Clarke also lined up for the English Schools FA team in the same age group as they played against the Home Nations in the Bob Docherty Cup in Dublin.
Dorrington's path towards representing her nation began in January when her displays at the new Elite Performance Centre caught the eye of the centre's coaches. As a result, she was invited to attend trials for the international side at the David Beckham Academy in London during February, where Under-15 Head Coach Kay Cossington ran the rule over the youthful prospects.
The midfielder earned selection for the Netherlands away match, travelling to Heerhugowaard to complete the full 80 minutes. In picking up her first England cap, she became the 15th U's Female Football Programme player to appear for her country, following in the footsteps of the likes of Karissa Rodney and Maegen Doyle. Also representing the U's and England in previous years has been Kate Longhurst, who scored in this year's FA Women's Cup Final.
Meanwhile, forward Clarke completed an extensive trial period before linking up with the English Schools FA Under-15 squad. Her first step was to be nominated by the Essex County Schools' FA for the Southern Regional Trials, held at Chigwell School in November 2011.
Having come through that process, Clarke then performed well in a 'North vs South' encounter which determined the make-up for the Bob Docherty Cup, which took place across three consecutive days at the start of April. Despite England only winning one match out of three, the trip - as well as the subsequent fixture away to Scotland at the Toryglen Centre in Glasgow - was a personal success for Clarke, who played every minute of the four matches.
(by Robert Craven)
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