Ellie Wilson: “The whole competition was a real eye-opener. I’d love to do it again.”
Bristol City’s Ellie Wilson has vowed to use her experience at the World University Games (WUGs) as the perfect springboard ahead of the new Women’s Super League (WSL) season.
The 20-year-old defender has recently returned from the event in Chinese Taipei, which saw her don the red, white and blue in a maiden appearance for Great Britain on the international stage.
The 2017 WUGs – the largest multi-sport event outside the Olympic Games – saw Team GBR’s final medal tally total three silver and six bronze across four different sports, seeing them finish an overall 45th on the medal table.
After being drawn in a tough pool, with eventual bronze medal play-off teams South Africa and Russia, Team GBR’s women’s football team were always up against it.
But the team found considerable form in the latter part of the competition, which saw them record a 6-1 victory over Argentina and a 7-1 win against Colombia, before ending on a high with a 2-0 victory over Ireland, to finish ninth overall.
And despite the tough campaign, Wilson admits she will relish the opportunity for the rest of her playing career.
“It was different to be part of a bigger event, playing in the same team with teammates from the other home nations. It was definitely a more wholesome experience,” said the Bucks New University sport and exercise science student.
“You don’t always get to play alongside players from the home nations, so it was interesting to be around more than just the England football team for once.
“The whole competition was a real eye-opener. I’d love to do it again.”
Wilson, who joined the Vixens from Reading Women FC in January 2016, was part of Bristol’s FA WSL1 Spring Series campaign earlier this year, which saw them finish eighth, one above bottom placed Yeovil Town.
But the former England under-19 international – who will now look to break into the national under-23 set-up – is confident that Willie Kirk’s side can outplay their status as relegation favourites in the 2017-18 season, which sees the WSL debut as a winter league.
“The Spring Series was a good opportunity for us to test ourselves at WSL 1 level,” said Wilson.
“But things have changed between then and now and from what I’ve heard having been away for three weeks at the World University Games, we’ve prepared well for the new season.
“I feel like we’re on track – we have a couple of friendlies towards the start of the season and we’re definitely all geared up and ready to kick on from the Spring Series.
“We want to cement ourselves in that league and prove that’s where we should be. We want to progress.
“We’ve showed in a couple of games in the Spring Series that we can compete and get good results and it’s just a case of building on from that, getting consistency and results against teams that we feel we should be competing against.
“It’s a tough league, but there’s no reason why we can’t stay up.”
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues, competitions and international representative teams for more than 150 institutions across 52 sports. Over 110 athletes will represent GB at the 29th World University Games (Summer Universiade) in Chinese Taipei, 19-30 August.
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.