onsıde| ISSUE 39 THE INTERVIEW: TRACEY CROUCH 6 RORY: You’ve played and coached football for many years. How did you first get into football? Tracey: I played football in the 1980s when it was not really something that girls were involved in. So my earliest experiences were forged on the street with my neighbourhood friends. I didn’t actually play competitive football until I went off to university. Whenever I come to Football Foundation facilities, I feel incredibly envious of the kids who are playing on state-of-the-art all weather pitches because I certainly did not have anything like them when I was growing up! RORY: So when you played growing up with friends, were you doing so with a mixture of boys and girls? TRACEY: The people I played with were all boys. At primary school, I was banned from playing football in the playground because it was not considered to be a sport for girls. When I went to an all-girls secondary school, football was not even on the curriculum. Only at university did I Sports Minister Tracey Crouch recently unveiled the stunning new artificial playing surface and refurbished changing rooms at Redditch United FC in Worcestershire. ONSIDE editor Rory Carroll caught up with her and got her thoughts on getting into politics, women’s football, and her Department’s new Sports Strategy. EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH TRACEY CROUCH MP, MINISTER FOR SPORT AND CIVIL SOCIETY TRACEY CROUCH Q&A WITH