Chelsea FC Women’s defender Hannah Blundell recently joined Chelsea Foundation College Academy players for a Q&A session to discuss her pathway through a Chelsea Foundation college system, life during lockdown and what keeps her motivated to achieve more success.

Blundell, who was part of the Chelsea side that were recently crowned Women’s Super League Champions and has won seven major honours with the club, joined the Blues at 16 where she split her time between training with our Academy and studying and playing football at one of our Foundation Academy programmes.

The 26-year-old is currently doing an individual training plan ready for a return to pre-season training but Blundell took time out of her schedule on Friday afternoon to speak with players from five female college academies via an online platform.

Blundell spoke in depth about her training regime during lockdown, staying motivated ahead of the new season and revealed that teammate Ji So-Yun is the greatest player she has ever played with.

She said: ‘It’s a strange and difficult time for everyone at the moment so it was great to speak to the girls and give them advice on what they can be doing to ensure they come back in the best possible shape.

‘I came through a college programme myself and so I was only happy to take the time to talk with the girls and I hope they have been able to take something away from the session.

‘It’s important for me that I remain humble and always remember where I came from – and so I always enjoy giving my time back to the community through the club’s Foundation events.

‘When I was younger there probably wasn’t as many female role models in football out there for me to look up too but in recent years the women’s game has grown and hopefully the girls can look at me, be inspired and know that anything is possible.’

Aleasha Lunn, who is hoping to join The Piggott School Female College Programme, said: ‘Hannah really inspired me to put the extra effort in as I know it will be my own personal gain or loss from how much work I have put in at home.

‘I found it beneficial to hear someone with success, that they didn’t always have the confidence in themselves, similar to how I have felt before.

‘This helped me realise that I shouldn’t compare myself to other people and to look up to the success.’

Keith Harmes, Foundation area development manager, said: ‘It was great to have Hannah give up her time to speak at length with the girls and tutors of our current girl’s college programmes.

‘To have an exceptional player and person like Hannah talk and answer questions from the girls will hopefully prove inspirational to all those involved, no matter what their future holds.’

Female colleges we currently run are at: Blenheim High School – Epsom, KT19 9BH, Bexhill College – Bexhill-on-Sea, TN40 2JG, Thomas Bennett Community College – Crawley, RH10 5AD, HSDC Alton – Alton, GU34 2LX, The Piggott School – Wargrave, Reading RG10 8DS, Mount Kelly – Tavistock, PL19 0HZ, Cowes Enterprise College – Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 8HB.

To express an interest and for information on any of the above female college programmes, please forward your enquiry to: [email protected]