A GIRLS' football team from Chester are hard at work raising funds for a trip which would see them train with some of the finest youth coaches in Europe.

Chester Nomads Zebras U11’s team has gone from strength to strength since their formation three seasons ago and have exceeded expectations during their first season in the Chester and District Junior Football League - currently sitting third.

Coached by Andrew and Clive Probyn, the team pushed to make the change to the boys' division to challenge themselves after a successful couple of years.

Last season saw the Zebras reach finals in seven of the eight competitions they entered, winning two, they also established a 38-game unbeaten team record in open play.

They now hope to play against European opposition as part of a football tour of Madrid in October.

The dream trip would see the Zebras have coaching sessions with youth team coaches from both Real and Atletico Madrid, tours of both stadiums and games against local teams.

The team have often relied on second hand kit and equipment from the club’s boys’ teams as well as help from parents.

Fundraising efforts for their Madrid trip have so far included a sponsored walk up Moel Famau in fancy dress and planned car washing and supermarket bag packing.

The Peacock Hotel on Christleton Road has also helped out, matching a generous anonymous donation from a customer to provide them with £750.

‘Massive for girls football’

Having grown from a starting group of just six girls, the Zebras, along with Chester Nomads’ other U11 girls team the Mustangs, now have enough players to fill two full squads.

Coach Clive Probyn says the trip could be significant not just for the Zebras, but for girls football throughout the area.

Clive Probyn said: “For a child of that age, you’re creating stories for them for the future. They’ll want their children, their girls, or boys to have those experiences too.

“It’s massive for girls’ football in the town, we want to promote that and for other girls to know that they can get to this level too.

“The opportunity is unbelievable, to have the chance a chance to do something like this.”

But to do so, donations like the one from the Peacock are invaluable.

Owner of the Peacock, Rachel Gerrard said: “I took over on December 11, and Gemma [mother of Demi-Leigh] became a part of the team and through that we became aware of the Zebras.

“It made sense for the pub and for the girls, and I’m fully behind it because it’s such a good cause. Especially with how prevalent girls’ football is becoming these days.”

Rachel said that the £750 includes a donation from an anonymous customer, which the pub has matched, together with money raised by 10-year-old Demi-Leigh through selling football scratch cards.

A talented and motivated young group, Demi-Leigh is one of several Zebras players - alongside Gabi Lusar, Kitty Harris, Florrie Probyn, Annabelle Smith and
Freya Hunt - who are currently a part of Crewe Alexandra’s Academy system.

Several girls also represent Chester Schoolgirls including: Abigail Rainbird, Poppy Adams, Florence Daniel, Minnie Rockcliffe, Emily Couch, Loretta Eccles and Jennifer Sams at Chester FC.

Demi-Leigh said: “It’s an amazing opportunity [to go to Madrid], it’s really exciting and hopefully we can raise enough money.

"It would be great for us."

Demi added that her dream would be to make it as a professional footballer and to “inspire” other girls to try the sport.

For more information about the campaign, or to find out how you can donate, you can visit the team’s GoFundMe page.