Kingsley for Keets
Nikita Parris’s first involvement with football was very much a family affair.
The Manchester City and England striker’s first-ever club was Kingsley United in Liverpool – and she had three relatives in the same team!
She joined the club aged seven and stayed there for four years.
Parris said: “My next door neighbour was the coach of the team. He saw me playing in my front garden one day and encouraged me to come along. It was an all-boys team at that time but he said I could still join.
“A few years in we started a girls’ team and we were all friends from the local area.
“My sister was the centre half, one of my cousins was the goalkeeper and another was the right-winger. We’ve got loads of girls in my family and I was busy getting them all to come and join us.”
The 24-year-old went straight from Kingsley to Everton’s centre of excellence, where she would work on the skills that would one day help her break into the Lionesses squad.
But her love of football started at Kingsley – and being part of the club even helped her settle in at secondary school.
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She added: “I loved it and I’ve loved football ever since.
“I’ve got some really, really good memories from Kingsley.
“One year we beat Everton 2-1 in a charity cup final. That was a massive thing for us because we were only a local girls’ team who would struggle to get players most weeks. But on this particular occasion everyone was raring to go, and we won it.
“And when I was thinking about what secondary school to go to, I always wanted to go to a mixed school.
“But when my mum chose an all-girls’ school for me I was absolutely fine with it because I’d already been a part of an all-girls’ environment at Kingsley and I knew how good that environment can be.
“I was fully prepared for secondary school because I’d played in an all-girls’ football team so it was perfect."