California Daily Diary: Winning start for England Women


Throughout the England Senior Women’s California Tour, members of the squad will be giving regular updates from inside the camp to supporters back home.

Our first team diary comes from Laura Merrifield, Claire Faram & Jenny Simpson

Hello from sunny LA! 

It seems like ages ago we met at Heathrow to kick-start our Cali Challenge. Sleep, movies and lots of food entertained us for the 10+ hour flight which was all worth it for the beautiful weather that greeted us in LA.

After arriving at the University of Southern California campus, we had a chilled afternoon spent preparing for the week ahead - A dip in the pool, mobility, team meeting and dinner at one of the USC dining halls. Great vibes headed into our first game of tour.

GAME DAY #1: England vs. SoCal All Stars - W - 15-5

Excitement levels were high as we stepped onto the pitch for our first test of tour. Our dynamic new warm up designed by James Wild, our Head of Athletic Performance, prepared us for a great start to the match. A quick 3-0 lead, with goals from Laura Merrifield, Olivia Hompe, and Camilla Hayes set the tone for the rest of the match. A solid defensive performance kept our opponents to only five goals with a shout out to Ellie Hillier who led the defence in caused turnovers. It was great to finally try our new defensive tactics against different opponents. 

Claire Faram and Liv Wimpenny put up a strong effort in the midfield winning 9 of our 14 draw controls in the match. These possessions allowed us to really dictate the pace of the game and a very balanced attacking unit led to ten different goal scorers, with Sophie Tamblyn, the youngest player on tour, racking up two goals in her Senior England debut. A great overall team performance produced a 15-5 win!

Following the game, an afternoon full of team bonding involved exploring the USC campus and a competitive “Spikeball” tournament. We head to San Francisco tomorrow morning, with our next game on Tuesday against UC Davis, so be sure to check in for more updates on Team England’s #CaliforniaChallenge

England Points: Olivia Hompe (2,3), Laura Merrifield (2,2), Camilla Hayes (2,0), Jenny Simpson (2,0), Sophie Tamblyn (2,0), Liv Wimpenny (1,1), Kirsten Lafferty (1,1), Alex Drewe (1,0), Anna Featherstone (1,0), Claire Faram (1,0), Torz Anderson (0,1), Hannah Bray (0,1).