Yeovil Town Ladies U13s challenge Arsenal for 'Invincibles' tag
When Yeovil Town Ladies’ under-13s team take the field for the final home game of the season tomorrow against Wembdon, they will be reasonably confident of victory.
For the girls in the famous green and white hoops won last week, the week before, and the week before that. In fact, they have won every match they have played this season, every match last season, the season before that and the season before that.
Their incredible 100 per cent record dates back to 2010 and stretches to four years playing in the different year groups in the Somerset Girls’ Football League.
When they take the field, it’s not a case of whether they will win, lose or draw, just how many goals they will win by. They won the league last week and have two games remaining to complete a fourth season winning streak, with the final game at Wells next Saturday.
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They have failed to win once or twice since 2010, in summer tournaments at Minehead when teams come from all over the country and some of the team are away on holiday. But for coach Mark Howard and his wife Hilary, who is club secretary, each Saturday morning is a winning one.
“We used to win by lots of goals, often double figures and our biggest win was 15-2,” said Mrs Howard. “But this season more and more we’re winning by five or six. There’s certainly less of a difference and the fact we only won the league last week shows the other teams are getting closer. The girls are still nervous before every game – some of them worry that this is the game they’ll lose, but they’ve been together for four years now and are really close, they’re a lovely bunch of girls and all look out for each other and are all friends, even though they come from different schools.
“Once we did go a goal down in a game, and the other team’s coach was really thrilled to start with, but we ended up winning 4-1,” she added. “I think the closest we’ve come to drawing is a 2-0 win.”
When Arsenal famously went the entire Premier League season unbeaten in 2004, they were hailed as the Invincibles, but they actually drew almost a third of their games. Yeovil Town under-13s don’t even draw, let alone lose.
For the Howards there’s a double dose of pride – their own daughter Shakira, 12, is a striker and once scored 100 goals in a season.
“I feel like a mum to the whole team, encouraging them while Mark does the coaching bit. He tells them to keep playing as they do in training and keep talking to each other. They’re not allowed to talk in the dressing room – you know what girls are like – but to save it for the pitch,” she added.