Meet the Team GB footballers from our region going for gold

Team GB women's football squad selected five players from our region Credit: PA

Meet the women who are, quite literally, kicking off the Olympics for Team GB.

Steph Houghton MBE, Jill Scott MBE, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Carly Telford and Rachel Daly have been selected to represent their country and aim to bring home a Gold medal on behalf of the women's football team.

The squad "can absolutely go the whole way" according to coach Hege Riise, who herself won gold with Norway at the Sydney Games in 2000. The squad also confirmed they will be taking the knee ahead of matches, in a stance to fight racial discrimination.

From Harrogate to Berwick, fans can get behind one of their own during the Games...

Steph Houghton MBE Credit: PA

Steph Houghton MBE

Team GB's Captain hailing from County Durham, Steph has represented her country at every level, totalling more than 100 appearances for England.

She is among the four players to have also been part of the squad at the London 2012 Olympics, along with Jill Scott.

The 33-year-old currently plays for Manchester City. At club level, Houghton started at Sunderland in her native North East England before moving on to Leeds United in 2007 then Arsenal Ladies in 2010.

In June 2016, Steph was awarded an MBE for services to women's football.

Rachel Daly Credit: PA

Rachel Daly

The defender is back with her home squad for the Olympics, as in-season, Rachel plays with Houston Dash in the United States.

The 27-year-old from Harrogate grew up playing for Leeds United and first received the call-up for her country at u-17 level.

Rachel was also part of the Lionesses World Cup 2019 squad in France.

Jill Scott Credit: PA

Jill Scott

One of the most-capped England ladies, Jill Scott MBE is a midfielder for Everton on loan from Manchester City. Jill was born in Sunderland and rose through the academy ranks in our region. Like fellow teammate Steph Houghton, Jill was awarded an MBE for services to women's football in 2019.

Since her debut in 2006, Scott has played a key role for England and has also represented Great Britain at the London Olympics.

In 2020, Jill became an ambassador role for a North East-based charity, which raises funds to help save the lives of children and adults needing coronary care.

Demi Stokes Credit: PA

Demi Stokes

Born in the Midlands but raised in South Shields, Demi is adopted as one of our own, after signing for Sunderland's youth team at the age of eight and went on to make her senior debut in 2007.

The 29-year-old left-sided full back is currently playing for Manchester City at club level.

In 2020, the Lionesses star recalled the shocking moment she faced racist abuse in her first ever game, and urged players to speak out in wake of George Floyd's death.

Lucy Bronze Credit: PA

Lucy Bronze

Originally from Berwick, Lucy is arguably the most well-known player on the squad. In 2019, Bronze made history by becoming the first English footballer to win the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award.

The Lionesses defender won the award following her impressive displays for both the England national team and French side Lyon, who she has been with since 2017.

The former Sunderland, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City full-back also netted for England during the 2019 World Cup.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, Lucy joined a host of famous players in a video campaign. 'We Are Tired' is an anti-racism video asking for change.

Carly Telford

Carly attended Tanfield School in Durham and then continued her studies at Gateshead College.

Telford began her career with Sunderland and Leeds United before signing for Chelsea in 2011.

She captained the Blues in the 2012 FA Cup final and during her time with the club, Telford also gained experience further afield during a loan spell with Australian club Perth Glory.

She left at the end of 2013 to join Notts County. The highlight of her time with the Lady Pies was playing in the first Women’s FA Cup final held at Wembley Stadium, when Notts were beaten by Chelsea.

Telford returned to Chelsea in 2017 and was part of the Blues’ WSL 1 title and Women's FA Cup-winning squad.

Telford has also been part of three World Cup squads, in 2015 and 2017, before getting her first minutes in 2019 during the World Cup in France.

Team GB women's football squad Credit: PA

Group EJapanCanadaGreat BritainChile

Group FChinaBrazilZambiaNetherlands

Group GSwedenUSAAustraliaNew Zealand

List of group fixtures:

Wednesday 21st July

Group E: Great Britain v Chile (8:30am) (Sapporo Dome, Sapporo)

Saturday 24th July

Group E: Japan v Great Britain (8:30am) (Sapporo Dome, Sapporo)

Tuesday 27th July

Group E: Canada v Great Britain (12pm) (Kashima Stadium, Kashima)

Just last night, the head of the Toyko 2020 Games has refused to rule out a last-minute cancellation of the Olympics, as more athletes test positive for Covid and rising anger among the Japanese population over the games.

Asked at a news conference if the Games might still be cancelled, Toshiro Muto, the head of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, said he would keep an eye on infection numbers and liase with other organisers if necessary.

Covid cases are rising in Tokyo and the Games will be going ahead without any spectators.