Football - a Harris family affair

Megan Harris
Megan Harris first joined Lincoln Ladies at the age of 10

There are many famous siblings in sport, but rarely is there enough talent within a family to start a five-a-side football team, and even more rarely are they all connected closely with one club.

But the Harris family from Lincolnshire - mum Debra, dad Glen, daughters Megan, Emily and Martha and son Liam - could do just exactly that, and the three sisters could find themselves one day all lining up in the same Lincoln Ladies team.

Megan

Megan, 27, was one of the founding members of what was initially Lincoln City Ladies, and has progressed through the ranks to become club captain.

She first signed for the club at the age of 10 after seeing a newspaper advertisement for girls interested in starting a football team.

'My dad took me along because I used to play with the boys team and I had stop playing because of the rules of the age groups," she said. "I was looking for a girls team, so I went along and I've been there ever since.

"If you had told me when I was ten-years-old that I'd be playing matches shown on TV in the top women's league then I don't think I'd have believed you.

"It was something I dreamed about when I was little. I wanted to play at the highest level, and I wanted to play with Lincoln at the highest level."

Emily and Martha

Twin sisters Emily and Martha, 17, both play for Lincoln Ladies reserves and admit that although football is very much talked about, they like to do normal things in their spare time.

"I did have a choice to play," defender Emily admits. "But I used to have to go and watch a lot and then I just decided to start playing."

Martha has recently been involved with England's under-19s after consistent successful performances in her first year with the Ladyimps reserve side.

"I got nominated for a talent camp and then got through to the next round, which was an England under-19's camp" she said.

Glen, Debra and Liam

Dad Glen spent six years as a Royal Navy physical training instructor and, after a spell as team manager with Lincoln Ladies, is now part of the club's coaching staff.

He says it is fantastic that all of his family are involved in sport.

The Harris Family
The Harris Family: Emily, Glen, Megan, Martha, Debra and Liam

"It's hard work sometimes on a Saturday and Sunday, making sure you get to all the games," he said. I suppose I'm really conscious that I'm football mad and I'm also conscious that they do it and enjoy it, which is the main thing.

"If you can't beat them, join them," is the view of mum Debra. "Generally speaking I go and watch most of their matches. Glen tends to do the training nights but I watch all the games really."

The youngest member of the family, Liam, plays football for Lincoln City boys and cricket for Lincolnshire's Under-13s.

Glen says he is delighted with the positives his children have taken from their involvement with sport.

"It's great that they've all had reasonable success from football, and made a lot of friends from football and it gives them a focus outside of their education," he said.

Reflecting on how the Women's Super League has impacted on the female game, he says: "Last season, before the Women's Super League, the crowds were probably one man and a dog, but now we've had 800 people down watching us at Sincil Bank.

"The more people that see it, the more people will get drawn into it. The quality is good. "

A growing sport

"The last year or so women's football has really grown," added Megan, who has captained the Ladyimps for the past three years.

"The World Cup helped, with the performances that the England Women's team did. The FA have really been pushing this league and trying to make it interactive and get it out there and I think they've done a really good job.

"Locally we're very lucky. The people in Lincolnshire and the local media are really supportive Wwe get a lot of coverage locally and I think that needs to spread nationally a little bit more, but it's getting there."

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