Eastbourne football starlet Kellie Larkin is determined to achieve her dream of playing for her country after watching the Team GB football team at the London 2012 Olympics.
The 15-year-old, who attends Willingdon Community School, observed the women’s team progress to the knock-out stages of the Games after winning every match in their group without conceding a goal.
She said, “They deployed excellent tactics and caused a bit of a shock. Hopefully everyone will be watching them thinking women’s football is a lot better than they thought it was.
“Hopefully that will be me one day. I think I do have the potential to achieve that dream but I will have to carry on working hard and keep improving.”
Kellie joined the England set-up in April last year at Warwick University but has yet to make an under-15 first-team appearance, watching from the dugout for two matches so far as a reserve.
Despite her age bracket moving her up to under-17 level next season, the central midfielder and Brighton and Hove Albion under-15 captain is not giving up hope of breaking into the first team – but concedes staying off the pitch has not been easy for her.
“It is a great honour to be part of the England set-up but each time you are nearly there, it’s quite hard to deal with,” said Larkin, who benefits from being a member of the Lloyds TSB’s Local Heroes programme.
“Maybe now isn’t my time but I hope to get there one day. Hopefully one of the coaches says, ‘let’s give Kellie a go’.
“Representing my country would mean everything to me. Going to the training camp and putting on the shirt with the England badge is such an honour.
“I have gone to every match where I have been a reserve just to watch the standard and see what the quality is like. I don’t feel at the moment I am underachieving. Central midfield is a hard position and I need to get stronger.
“We have brilliant coaches and they have been giving me excellent advice, which is encouraging.”
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 346 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Since 2008, the programme has supported 1,000 athletes. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes