The passion for football often develops at a young age, and that spirit is certainly burning bright in West Sussex.

Pupils at a Goring Church of England Primary School got the chance to ask questions of two Brighton and Hove Albion Women players – and took them on at a spot of football to boot.

Seagulls striker Ini Umotong and defender Laura Rafferty were at the school ahead of their SSE Women’s FA Cup clash with holders Manchester City on Sunday.

And with the trophy itself on full view in the school hall, Umotong and Rafferty received question after question from eager pupils about their life and career as footballers.

“They’re so excited and seeing then so excited makes me really excited too,” said Nigeria international Umotong. “They were asking great questions and it shows their enthusiasm.

“This is the age where you develop the love for the game – I was at this age when I decided all I wanted to do was play football.

“It begins at this level, and being part of that for the next generation is so exciting.”

Rafferty added: “Some of the girls actually didn’t play football much at school or outside, so it was great to see them enjoying the game during the session.

“It was a bit muddy out there and the girls weren’t scared to get stuck in!”

Two pupils who enjoyed the skills session and kickabout with the Brighton stars were Year 3 youngsters Olivia Davis and Isabel Griggs.

“We asked them lots of questions and they showed us the cup,” said eight-year-old Olivia. “It was really cool because lots of people haven’t seen it before.

“I scored and that was great because I’ve never actually scored before. Playing football was really fun – we all got to enjoy it.”

Isabel, also eight, added: “All of the classes got to have their photo by the cup. I love football because my dad supports Arsenal and so do I! Maybe I’ll play for them one day.”

With the pupils’ appetites for the game undoubtedly enhanced by the visit, the school’s P.E. coordinator Rupert Ireland believes it can be another stepping stone in the school’s quest to improve participation further in football and sport in general.

“We’ve had a big uptake in girls’ football recently and have 30 children involved in clubs here,” he said. “We’re hoping to increase that number.

“Our aim is to get every child in competition representing the school against other schools.”

Tickets are now on sale for the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final on Saturday 5th May at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. For more information about tickets and SSE, the energy behind women’s football, visit