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FA Ladies’s Nationwide League Plate: Kira Rai caps dream Manchester return with historic Derby County cup win | Soccer Information

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Kira Rai retuned to Manchester and delivered on her promise to alter English soccer after serving to Derby County Ladies win their first-ever nationwide trophy.

Rai – who’s Derby County’s quantity 15 and in her fifteenth 12 months with the membership – began the 3-0 win because the Ewe Rams beat Cambridge United to elevate the FA Ladies’s Nationwide League Plate at Broadhurst Park, residence of FC United of Manchester.

Eleanor Ashton scored a penalty, with captain Amy Sims including a second, earlier than a thunderbolt late on from Emily Joyce sealed victory to place gloss on the scoreline.

Derby winger Rai told Sky Sports News forward of the ultimate that the squad are all “proud to play for this membership and battle for this badge”. Sarcastically, Rai would turn into the primary Derby County participant ever to be booked in main ladies’s cup last following a mistimed first-half deal with.

Head coach Sam Griffiths mentioned after the cup triumph she hopes profitable a trophy generally is a catalyst for long-term progress for the Ewes in coming seasons.

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Derby County footballer Kira Rai issued a rallying cry as she turned the primary ladies’s footballer to current an accolade on the Asian Media Awards

In October final 12 months, Rai became the first South Asian heritage footballer, male or female, ever to present an award at the annual Asian Media Awards. Premier League legend Alan Shearer is the one different footballer to have been bestowed with the honour.

Earlier than presenting the award, trailblazer Rai addressed dignitaries on the Manchester awards ceremony, together with a number of the most recognisable journalists from Britain’s South Asian group, explaining her role in driving change in the English game, alongside her football club and Sky Sports.

Extra from South Asians In Soccer

Derby County Women's boss Sam Griffiths has writtn her name into club folklore
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Derby County Ladies’s boss Sam Griffiths has written her title into membership folklore

And simply six months later, Rai who rounded off the scoring for her aspect within the Plate quarter-final, has now helped Derby County Ladies earn the primary piece of main silverware of their historical past.

“It is an unimaginable feeling. What a second that is for Derby County supporters,” Rai advised Sky Sports activities Information after the ultimate whistle.

Trailblazer Kira Rai talks tactics with Sky Sports News' Dev Trehan after making history with Derby County
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Trailblazer Kira Rai talks techniques with Sky Sports activities Information’ Dev Trehan after making historical past with Derby County

“I am simply so proud to be part of a squad and a bunch of workers which have written their title into Derby County’s historical past books.

“So many individuals have performed their half in constructing ladies’s soccer at Derby and serving to us get right here. We’re actually grateful to all of them for paving the best way for us.”

Requested what influence she hopes her profitable a trophy with Derby might need on numerous ethnic illustration in ladies’s soccer, Rai mentioned: “It is apparent there aren’t sufficient women on the pitch who seem like me. We have to see extra, and greater than something I hope this may be one other step in direction of altering that.”

Joyce advised Rams TV after the sport she was “buzzing” together with her world-class strike.

She added: “I am simply so joyful to get the win, particularly for (our coach) Sam.

“Many people have been together with her from the RTC (Regional Expertise Membership academy pathway) during, so it is beautiful to elevate some silverware together with her.”

Derby skipper Sims mentioned: “I feel there was a little bit of an expectation for us to go and win the plate, however to truly go and do it’s one thing else.

“It is large, we have not gained something since our academy days, so to truly get to senior degree, get to play collectively and to truly win one thing with Derby is unimaginable.

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Derby County’s males additionally earned victory over Cambridge United on the weekend and wish only a level from their final recreation to safe computerized promotion again to the Sky Guess Championship

“Hopefully the lads can high it off with an computerized promotion as nicely however to win any trophy with Derby is totally unimaginable.”

The rise of Kira Rai

Kira Rai Derby

Rai began out at Burton Albion, earlier than becoming a member of Derby County whereas nonetheless at major faculty. She has performed in each age-group aspect and is in her fifteenth 12 months on the membership.

The attacker has been sponsored by official Derby County supporters’ club the Punjabi Rams for a variety of years now.

Kira Rai joins Sky Sports News' Dev Trehan at The Player Showcase ahead of the launch 2023/24 Team of the Season
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Kira Rai joined Sky Sports activities Information’ Dev Trehan at The Gamers’ Showcase hosted with Desi Ballers on the King Energy Stadium final wek forward of the launch of the 2023/24 South Asians in Soccer Staff of the Season

Chatting with Sky Sports activities Information, Rai, who featured in last year’s inaugural South Asians in Football Team of the Season, mentioned she feels lucky to have the help of everybody on the soccer membership together with the Punjabi Rams.

“It is large to have their help,” she mentioned.

Team of the Season
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Kira Rai featured on the left of a entrance three within the inaugural South Asians in Soccer Staff of the Season

“Inside Derby I’ve at all times been pushed, I’ve had lots of help from the membership, however then to have your personal little group inside a membership is huge.

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A younger Kira Rai tells Sky Sports activities Information she feels fortunate to benefit from the help of followers’ group the Punjabi Rams

“I really feel that is fairly a novel factor for me to have and I really feel fortunate to have that. And clearly, being a Punjabi woman, having their help [is an amazing feeling].

“It is like you’ve your personal group behind you and also you need to be an inspiration for them, however they’re additionally an inspiration for me. They spotlight and present soccer in a South Asian setting is regular.”

Fleet-footed winger Rai is the primary Punjabi participant ever to drag on a Derby County shirt and rating at Satisfaction Park Stadium.

She worked with Sky Sports News journalist and FA Level 2 scout Dev Trehan to devise and deliver the Seeing is Believing girls’ football initiative in 2021, designed to encourage extra South Asian feminine participation within the recreation.

Rai additionally agreed to have her story showcased as a part of the world’s first exhibition documenting the journey of South Asian heritage women’s footballers in the modern English game.

The show was launched at Stamford Bridge and has gone on show at Wembley Stadium, in addition to at group hubs throughout the nation.

English football's first turbaned referee Jarnail Singh and his sons Sunny and Bhupinder join Kira Rai at Wembley Stadium to celebrate the launch of the first timeline and exhibition of South Asian heritage female players in the modern English game (Photo: Dev Trehan)
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English soccer’s first turbaned referee Jarnail Singh and his sons, PL match officers Sunny and Bhupinder, be a part of Kira Rai at Wembley to have fun the launch of the primary exhibition of South Asian heritage feminine gamers within the trendy English recreation

It is currently on display at the Wolves Museum at the club’s Molineux Stadium and has now been seen by tens of hundreds of individuals, elevating Positive consciousness about South Asian trailblazers within the ladies’s recreation.

Britain’s first turbaned Sikh Member of Parliament, Tan Dhesi, visited the showcase final 12 months at Singh Sabha Sports activities Centre in his residence constituency of Slough.

“Everybody could be very proud to see it hosted at Singh Sabha Slough Sports activities Centre, which is a significant hub of exercise for younger individuals, particularly these of South Asian heritage,” Dhesi mentioned.

Tan Dhesi timeline
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MP Tan Dhesi visited the groundbreaking showcase at Singh Sabha in his Slough consituency


“And after they come alongside and see this exhibition, they now have position fashions [that they never knew existed] that they can also aspire to be like and emulate. They’ll go away pondering ‘if she will be able to do it, why cannot I?’.

“Illustration issues and it doesn’t matter what sphere that’s in. It is great to see the advances that South Asian heritage feminine gamers have made, notably within the final decade.”

Talking on the inaugural Women’s Copa Del CL charity tournament at St George’s Park, former England worldwide and non-independent director of the FA Ladies’s Nationwide Board Eartha Pond hailed the timeline as a celebration of “greatness” within the recreation.

“I performed with lots of South Asian gamers, even from grassroots degree at 14. They’ve been enjoying and I simply do not assume it has been captured,” she mentioned.

Hanaah ward Trehan Rai Singh Savage
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Derby County legends Hannah Ward and Kiran Singh Savage be a part of Dev Trehan and Kira Rai in help of subsequent era expertise Riya Mannu, who was aged 15 on the time

“So it is nice to see the showcase, very, very pleasing. It is nearly celebrating, there may be a lot greatness throughout the recreation, and it is not nearly range when it comes to color, it is also about range when it comes to mindset, experiences, and cultures. That is what Britain brings.”

The first-of-its-kind timeline features 20 current and former players from South Asian backgrounds, with Rai and West Brom starlet Mariam Mahmood making a twin entry after a historic recreation at The Hawthorns final 12 months.

Sky Sports exclusively revealed in 2022 that West Bromwich Albion Women would be hosting Derby at The Hawthorns.

And in November of that 12 months, the pair each netted in simply the second ever ladies’s recreation performed on the well-known stadium, which has been residence to West Brom’s males’s group for 124 years.

Mahmood: Our tales matter

“It is nice to characteristic within the timeline alongside Kira,” mentioned Mahmood. “Seeing us characteristic on the boards exhibits how far we have now come, but additionally exhibits how a lot additional we have now to go.

“Schooling and bridging the hole in information about South Asians in soccer stays a significant difficulty. Our tales matter and I hope this raises Positive consciousness and encourages extra youngsters, notably women from South Asian backgrounds, to take up the sport and revel in enjoying soccer.”

Blackburn Rovers midfielder Chandarana mentioned: “We are able to now see all the good issues that these women have achieved and proceed to attain, and it is nice to be a small a part of it.

“I hope it offers inspiration to many extra, to point out {that a} profession in soccer is feasible for girls from the South Asian group.”

Rai added: “To characteristic alongside some fabulous South Asian ladies as a part of the historical past of the English ladies’s recreation is a matter of giant delight for me, my household and my soccer membership.

“We all know ladies’s soccer will not be as numerous accurately, and I need to play my half to assist change that. I hope this evokes the following era and offers gifted women who seem like me the assumption that they’ll additionally make it within the recreation.”

British South Asians in Football

For extra tales, options and movies, go to our ground-breaking South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and keep tuned to Sky Sports activities Information and our Sky Sports activities digital platforms.



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