The women of the English National Team are going to all lengths to prepare for the upcoming World Cup, even as to work on their conditioning by training with Britain’s Royal Marines, according to a report by the Irish Mirror.With the tournament set to kick off in France on June 7, Manager Phil Neville organized an overnight stay at a boot camp dedicated to training the British Navy’s strongest fighters.
The English team participated in team-building drills, before spending the night around a campfire as they were regaled with tales from Royal Marine veterans of their exploits around the world. Toni Duggan, who plays her club soccer for Barcelona, described it all by saying, “It was amazing. We ate the food they eat, cooked the way they do and did some activities that were difficult. We heard some of their stories. When you talk about the pressure of going to a World Cup, I don’t think there’s any pressure on us after hearing their stories because that’s real life.
Duggan went on to pay tribute to the Royal Marines, describing them as possessing strength and leadership from the adversity they faced during their time abroad that puts some perspective on the pressure she and the rest of the team face in trying to win the World Cup.
The admiration didn’t go one way though, as Duggan said, “What was so surprising was they were big fans of us and so proud and the way they talked to us – not down to us – I couldn’t believe they were even saying that because we just kick a ball around.”
As part of the boot camp experience, each player on the national team was forced to go without their phone for 24 hours while also subsisting on military rations. One of the drills they players were forced to perform consisted of rescuing soldiers than carrying them on stretchers to a specific area. The squad was also given memory drills where they were forced to remember specific names of items, then recall them upon being awoken at 6 in the morning.
Beth Mead, who plays for Arsenal, described being inspired by her time at the boot camp by saying, “It was inspiring for us. There were men there who had their legs blown off, amputees. We think we’re courageous when we are on a football pitch – and we have people like that with half of their body missing… It has given us a reality check. When we moan we have a niggle or our foot is hurting because of a bruise, it really puts things into perspective. I think it’s been good for us.”