Mel eyes debut

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One of Eastbourne’s most promising young footballers, Melanie Leonida, has taken a huge step towards her life ambition of becoming a professional footballer.

The defender, who plays for Chelsea, was nominated by her club’s coaching staff to make the jump to international football as she chases her dream of representing England.

Leonida, 18, will be hoping to make her England College debut against Wales on March 4 and cement a place in July’s Gothio Cup squad.

Former Bishop Bell student Leonida previously played for Brighton & Hove Albion, she will join a 21 woman squad in a Midlands training camp this weekend at Premier League side West Bromwich Albion’s training ground and will be presented with their England training gear. The England hopefuls had to go through three stages of trials before making the squad, this after being selected as the highest calibre players by their respective club or college managers.

Leonida is a second year scholar at Chelsea and is currently studying an Extended Sport Diploma at Merrist Wood College in Guildford. She is hoping to progress her education as well as her footballing talents by applying for university upon completion of the course, where she can study and play in tandem.

Melanie has also looked into the possibility of a move abroad to further her development.

“I’ve looked into a number of scholarships in America, but the biggest problem is finding the funding for a move out there.”

For now, she is focused on proving herself on the international scene with upcoming matches against Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland before the possibility of the Gothio Cup in July.

She explained, “The Gothio Cup is a tournament held in Sweden, we’ll be out there for a week and all the national teams will be competing.

“It’s been the same girls throughout the trials and I get on with them great, I’m looking forward to this weekend’s training camp.”

With the tournament less than six months away, Melanie will be looking to prove herself with solid performances for her club and impressing during her time with the national team. The hard work continues on Saturday.