South East Wales

Novice goalkeeper Rebecca Egerstrom joins Welsh squad

Rebecca Egerstrom
Image caption After starting playing football in an after school club Rebecca Egerstrom joined a local side, progressed to county level and has now been selected for Wales

A 13-year-old goalkeeper who had barely kicked a football before signing up for an after school club last year has joined the Welsh girls under 16s squad.

Rebecca Egerstrom started playing the game at Stanwell School in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, as part of a Sport Wales project.

Now she is part of the development squad alongside some girls who are three years older.

She said she was "amazed" to attend her first training camp.

The Sport Wales 5x60 scheme aims to encourage pupils to get active for at least 60 minutes, five days a week.

It was launched in 2006 with £7.6m of Welsh government funding.

Rebecca started taking part in weekly after school football sessions and then joined her local girls' team Dinas Powys before progressing to the county team.

She said: "The 5x60 football sessions started off as something new and fun that I could go to each week with my friends.

"I soon really got into it and love playing in goal.

"I was amazed to be selected for Wales."

International fixtures

Rebecca has attended her first training camp at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff and received specialist goalkeeping coaching.

The squad also plays fixtures against opposition from other countries and Rebecca is hoping to play her part during the season.

Around 25 girls take part in Stanwell School's weekly football sessions.

Former international footballer and chair of Sport Wales Laura McAllister said: "It's especially encouraging to see that the scheme is playing an integral part in not only identifying potential sporting stars of the future but also increasing participation amongst girls.

"We're delighted that youngsters like Rebecca are trying their hand at different sports, and it appears as though she's really found her forte."

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