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From QPR Girls to England star

SUNDAY saw the Lionesses claim a momentous victory over Germany at Wembley Stadium in the final of the European Championships, with Chloe Kelly the match-winner with her last-minute strike.

Following the win, goalscorer Kelly quickly compared her dramatic moment to Bobby Zamora's goal which secured our promotion to the Premier League back in 2014 – highlighting her love for the R’s.

Someone who worked with Chloe as a youngster is QPR FC Women’s very own Steve Quashie - and the R’s boss was quick to express how proud he was to see one of our own reaching such heights.

Steve explained: “I remember Chloe coming to us as a nice eight-year-old, being involved in training programmes and our development process.

“She played in our Under-10 team in the Home Counties Cup and that team was full of some talented players. She is one that would just glide past opponents, had some lovely receiving skills and some good movement.

“But she also was tenacious and that comes from playing football with her brothers, she always had a beaming smile at training because she was playing for the club that she dearly loves. With her QPR sweatbands on she would sit talking about the club and rave about it, coming to as many games as she could.

“Being part of a side at QPR that was undefeated for two years straight we always knew she would go on to bigger and better things, but none of us thought she would become such a highly-established, qualified and intelligent international footballer.”

Following the full-time whistle on Sunday, Chloe has since been keen to highlight the love that she has for the R’s. Quashie has explained just how inspiring this moment will be for future generations.

He said: “It’s so inspiring for everyone connected to QPR in both our girls and women’s setup, a lot of players that played with Chloe are still in contact with us and with her. So for the girls who have seen all the photographs of Chloe in the old kit, touching the Home Counties Trophy, it then means that they have the opportunity to initially play here with us, but also to play at higher levels, hopefully at our football club.

“Our name is out there, it’s great that Chloe is such a passionate supporter who continually references QPR in her interviews. For us, now, it’s about being recognised by the wider community and the nation that we are doing things the right way, we do support players, create nice environments and platforms for them to flourish. It's given us more interest.

“Hopefully off the back of this we can get more supporters down to our women’s games at Hanwell Town and get younger girls supporting the R's on a matchday at Loftus Road.”

He added: “Competitions like the women’s Euros are life-changing experiences for people.

"Even before England’s victory last weekend it means that young girls, especially at primary-school age, will have an opportunity to enjoy football and be given a platform to play - and there is certainly now a pathway from the grassroots game to club football and onto the elite levels.

“The Lionesses winning is massive, it really is. I was only reflecting with our captain (Hayley Peacock) the other day about how much women’s football has grown, especially in recent years.

“We hosted a game here at Loftus Road in 2010 and the attendance was only 6,000, fast forward to last weekend and there’s record crowds at Wembley Stadium. It’s great for how the game has grown, they are getting the exposure and sponsorship that everyone has worked so hard for. 

“It’s wonderful for everyone involved that the game has grown so much and can certainly get even better.”

Following Sunday’s victory, Chloe Kelly - along with her family - has been invited to Loftus Road as a guest of the club for our Sky Bet Championship clash with Middlesbrough this weekend. Quashie knows just how big the moment will be for her and her family.

He said: “I am sure Chloe will have goose-pimples when she arrives at the stadium, I am sure that her heart is going to be racing - I remember when she moved on many years ago, her dad called me and said, 'Chloe is going to be moving on, I give the club the best of wishes and one day she will be back.' That day is going to be Saturday and it is much deserved as well.”

If you want to catch QPR FC Women in action this season, the R’s kick off their 2022/23 National League campaign on Sunday 21st August 2022 away to Cambridge City and will be returning to west London on September 18th when we welcome Norwich City.

The R's also have a range of sponsorship opportunities available this season, for more information please email [email protected].

Hopefully off the back of this we can get more supporters down to our women's games.

Steve Quashie