England youth international signs for Essex Police

Footballer Olivia Smith has swapped the Three Lions for the three seaxes after becoming a police officer with Essex Police.

Olivia, or PC Smith as she is now known, won 16 England caps at Under-16 to Under-19 levels and has played for Chelsea and West Ham.

The 21-year-old defender spent last season at Charlton Athletic in the Women’s Championship and is now looking for another club at that level so she can combine her football and police careers.

Olivia Smith playing for England

Olivia completed her 18-week initial training course at Essex Police College after deciding on a change of direction away from the professional game and is now a member of Grays Local Policing Team in Thurrock.

Olivia began playing football at the age of nine and got her big break at 15 when she was offered terms by both Chelsea and Arsenal after trials.

After four years at Chelsea she left for America with a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma. After a year there, she transferred to the University of Central Florida for six months.

However, with the season in America only lasting three months, Olivia returned to the UK to play professionally.

After signing for West Ham, she left for London Bees to get more playing time but then started to look at options away from football.

A transfer to Charlton reignited Olivia’s passion for the game, but she had already applied to join Essex Police.

Olivia said: “I went down a path where I wanted to give up football and thought, what can I do now? I always had a passion for forensics and wanted to become a detective, so I applied to Essex Police. I’m really happy I did because I love it.”

So, since January, she’s managed a challenging schedule of full-time police training alongside football training three nights a week, with games at the weekend against teams including Liverpool, Leicester City and Sheffield United.

Now Olivia has completed her training, she is considering potential careers with the firearms team or the dog unit.

Essex Police is recruiting now. Visit www.essex.police.uk/fitthebill for more details.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]