ASU soccer's Jemma Purfield is ready for international play with England's U-23 Women's National Team

Jemma Purfield's dedication and hard work has landed her a call-up to the England under-23 women's national soccer team

More than 5,000 miles away sits ASU senior forward Jemma Purfield comfortably in her England home preparing for the match of a lifetime, a friendly against Sweden's under-23 Women's National Team in Bollnäs, Sweden on June 9.

Back in May, the United Kingdom native received the call to join England's under-23 women's national team, coached by England soccer Hall of Famer, Marieanne Spacey



"It's always an honor to play for England," said Purfield as she grinned happily through a video chat. "I got my first call-up when I was 14 years old to play with the U-15 (England team), and that was a special moment definitely, but since then it's still just as special."

In a country where soccer is the main sport and pretty much a way of life, Purfield said the sport ran in the family. She grew up playing in the garden on weekends, and during her spare time with her dad and her brother, while her mom watched in support. 

Purfield was naturally right footed growing up, but copied her brother and became left footed.

"He played a big part in it and he was one of my inspirations in football," Purfield said. "My mom and dad because they put so much time and effort into helping me get to where I'm at, so I now play to obviously give back to them as well."  

Purfield went on to play for the Doncaster Rovers Belles in 2013, and both the England U-17 and U-19 national soccer squads in 2014.

At ASU, the 21-year-old finished the 2017 season having started in 19 games with six goals, for a total of 15 points. 

"I think Jemm will be the first one to say that coming to America has been huge for her development," said ASU women's soccer head coach Graham Winkworth. "She has been able to challenge herself against more athletic players and at a very high level. It is because of her ability to adjust to different environments. I was always confident that she had the ability to get called up again for her country."

Back in 2015, Purfield spent her first two seasons in the U.S. at the University of South Alabama. 

However, after Winkworth was named the head coach for ASU in 2016, she decided to follow in his footsteps. 

Purfield said she believes that having the same confidence she played with at both universities is one key ingredient that she will bring into the match against Sweden.   

"The things that I do well like running with the ball, running at people, dribbling with the ball and point and cross, those are probably the best attributes in my game," said Purfield. "So I have to make sure that I focus on those and take those into the England camp because ... those are probably the things that got the attention and got me the selection in the first place."

Although Purfield has never worked under coach Spacey before, she plans on keeping the same routine, train hard, and absorb all the new information that is given to her.

Purfield said the only difficult challenge she is facing is not having her ASU teammates to practice and train with.

"Jemma has a tendency to apply too much pressure on herself and sometimes not enjoy every minute this beautiful game offers," Winkworth said. "I think that if she works hard but with less pressure, you will be reading how she won with her country." 

As far as her upcoming final season goes for the newly named captain of ASU, she said some things to focus on will be trying to get everyone together to make sure the team has good chemistry going into the season, and to prove that they are better than last year.

"She is our captain and experiences (England U-23 team) will only help her as she leads this team in the fall," said Winkworth. "The England National Team are very professional in how they are organized. The players are extremely passionate and so I hope that she watches her teammates this week and thinks about ways to help create a similar professional environment for this team."


Reach the reporter at Edith.Noriega@asu.edu or follow @Noriega_Edith on Twitter. 

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