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Kilmarnock Ladies captain: 'Work hard. Train hard. Never give up.'

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Lauren Sloan is the current captain of the senior Ladies side at Kilmarnock. The team have had a tough time in recent years, but under the management of David Howie, Sloan and her teammates are looking to mount a promotion push and get them back to where they belong, in the First Division.

Sloan has been at the club since 1999, after being knocked back by a boys club.

"I started when I was six because the boys club said I couldn't play, so it kind of spurred me on a little bit. I went through the ranks and just played. I went senior when I was 16," she told Youth Football Scotland.

Sloan makes her path to the first team sound simple, when it reality it was a very hard effort, requiring determination and desire. The youth teams now are seeing the benefits of the partnership with the professional side, with access to gym facilities and a physiotherapist as well as being able to train at Rugby Park. But before 2014, the standard of facilities was a lot poorer, which had its effects on the club's players.

"I liked playing so it was all enjoyment and it was quite close. But then they [other girls in the youth setup] slowly drop off as you get older, so I was the only one out my whole team that moved up to senior squad," Sloan said

"Now, through linking with Kilmarnock, it's amazing the amount of teams and the camaraderie you have with each team. It's getting so much bigger."

And Sloan also had some sound advice to give to girls who are thinking about taking up the sport.

"Work hard. Train hard. That's it. Work hard, train hard, you'll get there. Don't give up," she said.

"Don't let any boy say he'll beat you or he can run faster than you, because if you keep up with him you'll beat any girl on the pitch."

Sloan knows that it can be tough as a girl trying to make it in football: "It's tough because there's a lot of stereotypes in woman's football. I think before you move up to the seniors there's a lot of expectations and that's when they drop out."

If there was ever an example of why a young girl should continue into the senior ranks of their football club, look no further than Kilmarnock Ladies captain Lauren Sloan.

Andrew Petrie | YFS South East Region Journalist

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