A TEENAGE football ace is cementing her place as a Scotland star of the future.
Sophie Sweeney will continue her fledgling international career this year after being selected to represent the Scottish under-15 girls’ team.
The 13-year-old picked up her first under-15 cap in November in a one-off series against Germany and that – coupled with a successful trial recently – has earned her a spot alongside 17 others.
Sweeney, who attends Bishopbriggs Academy, will now feature in the Bob Docherty Tournament – contested annually by the Home Nations.
The competition takes place in Belfast between April 1 and 4.
And with a warm-up game south of the border against England at St George’s Park – the FA’s new national football centre in Burton – Sweeney admits she can’t wait to get going.
“It was incredible news, I was really happy and proud to be selected,” said the Robroyston teenager.
“Getting the first cap under my belt against Germany really helped because my confidence went up a great deal.
“The trip to Burton is going to be really good because it’s a rare opportunity to go to such an amazing complex we might not ordinarily get.
“This is a step towards where I want to be in a few years time, which is as a professional player.
“International caps are important and that’s why I’m really excited about this next step.”
Head coach Billy Henderson led the under-15 side to victory in the Bob Docherty Tournament in 2009 and believes Sweeney can emulate current Scottish internationals Kim Little and Rachael Small.
Scotland lost their opening fixture last year to eventual winners Northern Ireland, but Henderson is hopeful a trip to Burton on March 16 will prove the difference this time.
“This is a wonderful team we have assembled here, it’s a really good mix of new faces and those who played last year,” said Henderson.
“Going down to Burton is going to be a fantastic experience – we’ll be the first international Scottish side to play there and we are very excited about that.
“We’ve never had an international prior to the Bob Docherty Tournament, but this year we do and hopefully that will set us in good stead for when we get to Belfast.”
Lloyds TSB Scotland, proud partner for the Scottish Schools’ FA, is delighted to support the Scotland U15 schoolgirls squad for the 2013 season. For all the latest squad news, visit scottishfa.co.uk/ssfa
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