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Brown ready for fantastic time
9:18am Tuesday 17th July 2012 in Tim Payne
FOR Burnley’s Rachel Brown, competing in the Olympic Games was something she never thought possible.
Brown has had many memorable moments during her football career but it appeared that to actually appear at the Olympics she was simply playing the wrong sport.
Women’s football was not even an Olympic sport when the goalkeeper was impressing as a youngster with Accrington Stanley Ladies.
It made its debut at Atlanta in 1996 but even then the chance of Great Britain ever entering a team seemed remote.
But, with Brown acknowledging herself that she is coming to the latter stages of her career, London 2012 arrived just in time.
The opportunity to host the Olympics led to a formation of a Great Britain women’s team for the first time, and Brown was one of 18 players selected.
“Before we have all just been spectators of the Olympics and loved it for what it was,” she told the Lancashire Telegraph.
“But now we will be part of a big Great Britain squad of hundreds, maybe even thousands.
“It will be fantastic.”
Great Britain take on New Zealand at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in their first group match on July 25 before further games against Cameroon, also in Cardiff, on July 28 and a clash with Brazil on July 31.
That final fixture could potentially be Brown’s first ever appearance at Wembley, although first she faces a battle with Karen Bardsley for a place in the team.
The 32-year-old has only been able to start focusing on the Olympics in recent weeks, insisting she had to concentrate on England duty before that after being part of their squad for Euro 2013 qualifiers against Holland and Slovenia.
And it was her selection for those two games, after Bardsley missed out through injury, that gave her real hope that she would be one of the two goalkeepers selected for the Olympics.
“We were playing for England in the European Championship qualifiers so we had to be focused on that,” said Brown, who will round off an exciting year when she marries on New Year’s Eve.
“I didn’t know whether I was going to be selected for the Olympics. But when Karen broke her finger it became clearer that Hope saw me as her number two.”
Meanwhile, East Lancashire teen footballers Tim Payne and Cameron Howieson will be hoping to represent New Zealand at this summer’s Games.
Payne is a striker for Blackburn Rovers, while Howieson is a midfielder at Burnley and made his first team breakthrough at Turf Moor last season.
The highly promising pair both made their international debuts earlier this year.
The young Kiwi duo will be hoping to make a huge impact on the tournament.