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Spurring Her On - Jenna Schillaci - A Spurs Women Legend

Jenna Schillaci has recently retired from football after an amazing 12 years with Spurs, she has achieved so much with the club and has been a role model to a lot of young fans.

She is from the London Borough of Enfield in North London, England. She grew up in a family of Spurs supporters and played football with her brothers during her childhood. As a 16 year old she joined Tottenham Hotspur Women and immediately went into the first team, played in the Greater London Women's Football League and FA Women's Cup. After one season, Schillaci left Tottenham Hotspur, she moved to play for Queens Park Rangers and later Langford, then Enfield Town, she returned to Spurs in summer 2009.

As a versatile utility player, Schillaci featured in midfield and at full back for Spurs. After several seasons she successfully deputised as a central defender and remained permanently in the role after that. She was particularly proud to captain Spurs to the 2016-17 FA Women's Premier League Southern Division title, secured by beating West Ham Women at her beloved White Hart Lane.

In 2019 Schillaci was among 11 of Spurs existing players to be offered a full-time professional contract to remain with the club following their promotion to the FA Women's Super League. Reflecting on the progress made since her humble beginnings at the club, she described the development as 'amazing, a dream come true.'

Schillaci made her top division debut in Spur 1-0 defeat by Chelsea, played before 24,564 spectators at Stamford Bridge. After the match she told reporters "We're not in this league to make up the numbers". The 2019-20 FA WSL season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and 36-year-old Schillaci announced her playing retirement in June 2020. She had made over 200 appearances, 10 goals to her name, won 8 trophies and captained the team to 3 promotions.

She has won a lot of trophies during her career at Spurs including the FA South East combination Champions 2010/11, London County Senior Cup 2011/12, Ryman Women's Cup 2015/16, FA Women's Premier League Cup 2015/16, FA Women's Premier League Cup 2016/17, Ryman Women's Cup 2016/17, FA Women's Premier League Southern Division 2016/17 and FA Women's Championship winners play-off cup 2016/1, She was also a runner up in the Rymans Women's Cup in the 2014/15 season and runner ups in the Capital Women's Cup in the 2015/16 season.

Since retiring she has set up her own business called Next-Jen to inspire the next generation of footballers using her experience and knowledge from years of playing, they provide healthy active screen time for young players, she has also been co-commentating regularly which she is loving and is also a head coach on a Tottenham college programme and also the talent pathway admin.

I first met Jenna at my first ever Spurs game which was against our rivals West Ham Women on the 19th April 2017 and was played at the men's stadium White Hart Lane, we ended up winning the league that night after beating them 4-0 and our captain Jenna Schillaci lifted the league trophy. I got to meet Jenna and some of the players after the game and it will always be a day to remember because I got to meet the people that I had looked up to for a few years and have continued to follow her career, she is an inspiration and role model to a lot of people especially the young girls who she is helping inspire to achieve their dreams of being professional footballers and showing them that if they keep working hard that they can do what they want.

Jenna has had an amazing football career and has won many trophies, played twice at the men's stadium, achieved two promotions and captained the team for many years. I wish her all the best in what she does in the future and can't wait to see her succeed in her next chapter. She will always be known as a Spurs Legend by all Spurs fans.

By Phillipa Kipling

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