A six-year-old refused to accept defeat after bullies told her: “You can’t play football, you’re a girl” — which resulted in her leading out England Women for a World Cup qualifier.
Jessie Adams had initially joined in a small-sided game on the field during lunchtime but was told to stop playing after tackling another pupil.
She returned home in tears to her shocked parents who took to social media to tell of their daughter’s ordeal.
The Sheffield United-mad youngster has played football since she was two-years-old but family feared the incident may cut short her playing career.
Instead, the youngster has become a source of inspiration for girls across the UK after she was bullied at school for playing ‘the beautiful game’.
Within days of the tweet, family was contacted by Sheffield United Ladies FC which offered Jessie the chance to lead the Blades out as mascot in their fixture against Radcliffe.
Amazingly, the youngster’s plight was then picked up on by the England Women’s national team.
Jessie led out England Women at Southampton’s St. Mary’s stadium for the World Cup Qualifier against Wales on April 6 this year, which ended 0-0.
Family say the wave of support has helped Jessie’s confidence and she has gone from a quiet, shy girl to someone who slides in with “thunderous tackles” on a football pitch.
Sheffield United Ladies FC are now even keeping close tabs on the talented, aspiring footballer.
Her mum Anna, 32, from Creswell, Derbs., said: “There’s nothing worse than your daughter coming home from school upset.
“Jessie was told by peers that she wasn’t allowed to play football because she was a girl.
“That’s pretty much what I said in the tweet I published – I was just so sad, but the responses to it were so positive – it all blew up in a couple of hours.
“I never expected it to go as far as it did. Sheffield United Ladies got in touch straight away and wanted to go to the school to speak to the children.
“The Lionesses also got in touch too and before we knew it, Jessie had lived her dream of leading out, not just Sheffield United Ladies, but England Women out too!
“Initially, we took the tweet down simply because we didn’t want people to get the wrong idea and think that we were trying to get freebies – but I regret taking it down now because it has had such a positive impact for girls in football.”
Anna praised her daughter’s school for supporting the family’s fight against the supposed “stigma” attached to girls playing football.
Carla Ward, interim manager of Sheffield United Ladies, said: “Jessie’s story is one which we should all get behind and learn from during Girls Football Week.
“Jessie is also extremely talented! We will be keeping a close eye on her.’’