It was an imperious debut for Freya Meadows Tuson as she wore the black and white of Maidenhead United for the first time in the Magpies record FA Women’s National League victory at Selsey last Sunday afternoon. United recorded a resounding 8-0 success over the basement side to start 2024 with a bang.
Meadows Tuson has joined the Tier 4 side on dual registration from their Championship neighbours Reading, the third former Royal to join Ed Jackson-Norris’s team in recent times following the arrival of fellow teenagers Izzy Stockton and Natasha Rasmussen over the last twelve months. All three played in the rout of Selsey and centre-back Meadows Tuson in particular belied her years with an unruffled performance, demonstrating her ability to pick a pass with composure.
The Reading-based youngster spoke with FiB before her debut about her time in football, telling us: “I’ve always played football because I enjoy it. I’d like to think my talent has progressed year on year since I’ve started playing. I joined Reeves Rangers boys when I was five and stayed there for three years before trialling for Reading Academy at the age of eight. I was successful in the trial so joined their U10s team and have been there ever since.”
At the tender age of eighteen, there is clearly much more to come from this focused young footballer, who recalls her favourite achievements thus far: “Joining the Academy at eight and winning Manager’s player in my first season was a personal achievement of mine. Also, being involved with the England youth teams and making my debut for them at sixteen was a proud moment.” Freya further recalls: “My dad was my first coach so he got me into playing football at Reeves Rangers. My first coach at Reading, Becky Jane, who I ended up playing with last season, has definitely impacted my journey. Also, Phil Cousins, Reading Women’s first team manager last season had a positive impact on me. I went to the U10’s trial in the summer of 2014 and was selected for the squad for the season. Getting my first call up to the first team on the week of my sixteenth birthday was a proud moment and then making my debut for the club in September last year was a stand-out moment as well.”
The Magpies are making good use of manager Ed’s links to Reading FC by giving young players the opportunity to play regular competitive adult football. Meadows Tuson hopes to bring the best of her qualities into the team: “I think I’me composed, committed and vocal as a player. I enjoy defending and I’m willing to put my body on the line.” Freya continued: “I wanted to play regular football at a team that has a good structure and has all the right values. I liked the level of support they provide their players with and it seemed like a club I would benefit from being at.”
There will be plenty for Maidenhead to look forward to in the New Year, with a home FA Women’s National League Plate quarter-final at the end of the month (28th January vs Cambridge United) and matches against runaway promotion favourites Exeter City and AFC Bournemouth, both of which are sure to test Freya and her team-mates to their limits. For now though, Meadows Tuson is enjoying being in a First Team environment: “It’s been really good, the girls set high standards of each other whilst maintaining a positive environment. The coaches also seem committed to get progress from the team, on and off the pitch. It’s not easy to come into a new team but the girls have been so welcoming and supportive. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season”