Football hotshot Amelia Bloom cheers on Lionesses after returning from Maccabiah Games as top scorer

The schoolgirl, who recently completed her GCSEs, claimed a haul of 10 goals at the tournament in Israel


Among the fans exulting in the England Lionesses’ historic victory last Sunday was one Jewish teenage girl who is revelling in her own footballing glory.

Amelia Bloom had just returned from the Maccabiah Games, where she scored more goals than any other footballer of either sex in any age category.

The schoolgirl, who recently completed her GCSEs, claimed a haul of 10 goals at the tournament in Israel, including three hat-tricks, against Australia, Argentina and Mexico.

Her Team Maccabi GB U18 side reached the Bronze medal final, played in Haifa on Sunday, 24 July, which they lost 0-2 to Canada, leaving them in fourth place at the event.

Sadly, Amelia, who plays for Arsenal U21s and has just signed a two-year contract with the club, had to leave the field after 60 minutes of the crunch match with an ankle injury.

She said: “I thought I’d broken it but thankfully it’s just a nasty sprain.

“I was really upset that we lost, but now I can see the bigger picture and I think our team did fantastically well, considering most of us are still only 16. As a side, we over-achieved, really.”

She said that her only disappointment was that there was no Golden Boot award for the highest scorer. “I’d have loved one of those,” she lamented.

Amelia returned to the UK in time to watch the England Lionesses defeat Germany to win the Euros on Sunday evening. She said afterwards: “What a game! It was so tense, absolutely unreal.

“It’s amazing what they’ve managed to achieve. I am certain that the Euros victory will help get more girls into the sport and I am sure our performance at the Maccabiah Games will encourage more Jewish girls to play football.

“As a young Jewish footballer, I absolutely loved the Games. It was an opportunity to play the game I love and be part of the Jewish community at the same time.

“None of my teammates at Arsenal are Jewish, but they all wanted to know everything about the Games and were texting me every day for updates.” Amelia plays on the right wing for Arsenal, but filled the striker role at the Games in Israel.

Now back home with her family in Amersham, Bucks, she is awaiting her exam results after taking her GCSEs at Chesham Grammar School. Next month she will commence her A-levels at Oaklands College in St Albans, which is affiliated to Arsenal. Having signed her contract she will now join up with the club’s U21 women’s squad.

“I hope to be a pro footballer one day,” she said. “To be honest, it’s 100 per cent all I’ve ever wanted since I was a young girl. If one day I could be playing for England and winning a major tournament, like the Lionesses on Sunday, that would be a dream all of my dreams coming true.”

Although an Arsenal player, she is a fan of their historic rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. She said: “I’ve always been a Spurs fan, but as I’m an Arsenal player, I’m probably going to have to start supporting them too.”

Her parents, Stephen and Phillipa Bloom, both PE teachers, said watching Amelia represent her country and the Jewish community at the Games left them “bursting with pride”.

Mr Bloom, 41, said: “The whole experience, from the opening ceremony in front of 30,000 people to the Bronze final, was just brilliant.

“Amelia played her heart out and it was thrilling to be out there watching her do so well.
“She’s been playing since she was a little girl, around four years old. I’d love to see her in a Lioness shirt one day.”

Ashley Lerner, Maccabi GB’s chief operating officer, said he hoped the England women U18s’ performance at the Games and the Lionesses’ Euros triumph would inspire a new generation of Jewish girls to take up the sport.

Mr Lerner said: “We are tremendously proud of everything both of these teams have achieved this summer, on and off the pitch. I’m especially proud of this U18 team because many of them were much younger [than the other teams’ players] and they had to perform at their very best to do as well as they did. A fourth place was the highest any of our sides have ever finished.

“Hopefully their performance and the Lionesses’ triumph will be catalysts for Jewish girls and women to get involved not just in football, but all sports.”

Less than 24 hours after England’s Lionesses lifted the Euros trophy at Wembley, a group of Jewish women footballers gathered just a few miles away in North Finchley. They were attending Monday night training at the Maurice Rebak Stadium, home to Wingate and Finchley Football Club.

Organiser Jack Josephs believes the Lionesses’ heroics will lead to a wave of Jewish girls and women flooding into the game. “When they do, we’ll be ready for it,” said Mr Josephs, who set up the North London Jewish five-a-side football league — the JLeague — in April last year

Since then, 90 female players have registered, under the watchful eye of FA-qualified coach Chloe Greenberg.

Mr Josephs said: “A large number of our women players were at the Euros final and, as you can imagine, it was pretty much all they talked about at training the following evening.
“I hope it inspires more of our Jewish women to be part of football.”

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