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She Can Play FC and Kat Clifton determined to go one better this year in the finals of the FA People’s Cup in Birmingham

PUBLISHED: 20:00 30 April 2017

She Can Play face the camera after the FA People's Cup local finals at Powerleague Shoreditch (pic: Harry Hubbard/The FA/Getty Images).

She Can Play face the camera after the FA People's Cup local finals at Powerleague Shoreditch (pic: Harry Hubbard/The FA/Getty Images).

Archant

Kat Clifton full of praise for FA People’s Cup, although keen for her team to get the chance to walk out at Wembley after just missing out in 2016

She Can Play in action during the FA People's Cup local finals at Powerleague Shoreditch (pic: Harry Hubbard/The FA/Getty Images). She Can Play in action during the FA People's Cup local finals at Powerleague Shoreditch (pic: Harry Hubbard/The FA/Getty Images).

Kat Clifton’s She Can Play FC team are desperate to go one better at the national finals of the FA People’s Cup this year at Birmingham tomorrow.

The Harold Wood resident played in the event last year, but was left gutted after making it through to the overall final only to then finish as runners-up.

She Can Play FC lost 3-2 in the national final at Sheffield in 2016 and missed out on the chance to walk out at Wembley during the FA Cup final as a result.

But Clifton said: “This year has been mental, but the girls really want it. When you lose it gives you a different drive for next time.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on the girls, so the first aim is to do ourselves proud and enjoy the day.

“But if we make it through to the final again there is no way we are losing this time. If we get there we have to win.”

She Can Play FC have already made it through the local and regional finals and have received plenty of plaudits along the way.

Kat Clifton, founder of She Can Play. Picture: BBC. Kat Clifton, founder of She Can Play. Picture: BBC.

The finals of the FA People’s Cup started today (Sunday), but the girls, who are mainly from different parts of London, don’t play until 3pm tomorrow.

The competition is run in partnership with BBC Get Inspired and there are 14 different categories, so plenty of chances for people to get involved.

Now the finals have come around and Clifton admits the mentality of her team in 2017 has left her beaming with pride.

She said: “All everybody is talking about is last year. We were 2-0 down in the final and we all thought that was that, but we came back and got it level before conceding in the last 30 seconds.

“It was absolutely gutting to miss out on Wembley and nobody spoke to each other on the journey home.

“This time around we have had so much pressure on us because the BBC filmed us and everybody at the local and regional finals recognised us from last year.

“It has been very different compared to 2016, so I am so proud of the girls for handling that as well as they have.”

She Can Play face the camera She Can Play face the camera

After coming so close last year, Clifton is hoping having a sub this time around will prove the difference.

“We did have two subs, but one of them booked a holiday to Mexico way in advance, so we only have one now,” said Clifton.

“That will definitely help us and we rotate it around and we do the same with the goalkeeper too.

“I can’t play this year, so I am coaching and we have a couple of other coaches, so we have plenty of people helping out.”

Even without Clifton’s talent, She Can Play FC will be confident of enjoying success in Birmingham.

If they do, it will be a team effort, however, with She Can Play having a Mums team in the competition as well.

Although they couldn’t progress past the local finals, Clifton was delighted with their showing and praised the competition as a whole.

“It is such a good event and organised brilliantly as well. There are so many different places to play and they take lots of pictures, which are used in the highlights video at the end and that’s great,” said Clifton.

“We got a She Can Play Mums teams involved this time and the BBC came down to video them to try and inspire similar people to get involved.

“I told them beforehand I was going to enter them, but I was a bit worried they might get smashed in the finals, but I was surprised because they won a couple of games and they actually had a great day, so it is definitely worth entering.”

She Can Play FC have had plenty of fun in the tournament in 2017 and they will aim to enjoy the event some more tomorrow.

Clifton added: “We have a lot of family and friends coming up for the day and it is a brilliant event, so it should be a great day.”

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