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This weekend saw Chichester City Ladies players recognised on an international stage as three of the team made their full England debut for the National Beach Soccer team at the ITV Pitch Fever Stadium in Manchester and against Switzerland.
A purpose built stadium packed with 1200 England supporters cheered on Emma Alexandre, Jade Widdowson and Kally Ambler as they endeavoured to beat the team ranked number one in the world.
The Chichester girls put themselves on the map last summer when Chichester coach, Liam Greenfield, led the club side to win the major tournament at the end of last season beating teams from Portsmouth and Brighton. England Beach Soccer soon recognised the talents of Greenfield and his team and soon promoted him to a management role for the National side. Greenfield stated: "It was a great honour to be asked to get involved with the coaching of the National side, Friday night was a great experience for all involved and its fantastic to get the Chichester players recognised for their talent on sand."
The game itself was a closer affair than the score line would suggest with Switzerland running out eventual 6-2 winners. Greenfield said: "In the second phase of play we got the score back to 3-2 and the Swiss players were rattled, they never expected us to be as strong as we were and the Chichester players made a huge contribution to our National sides performance."
The Chichester players were over whelmed by the reception they got from the supporters within the beach soccer park which has been built for the event on the old Granada Studios site in Manchester. Kally Ambler said the crowd made the occasion extra special: "After the match, the fans all came onto the pitch and wanted photos taken with us players and during the game they were signing and chanting our names. It was amazing!"
The England squad will now have to wait to find out their next opponents but hope their performance against the best team in the world will only serve to make them stronger for their next fixture. In the meantime the Chichester players will return to their club side for pre season which is due to start early next month.
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