Paige hopes to perform on big stage after Gothia glory

Paige-Marie Baker-Carroll
Paige-Marie Baker-Carroll

Former Polegate Grasshopper youth football player Paige-Marie Baker-Caroll will hope to make giant strides in the adult game after a successful Gothia World Cup.

Last month, Paige was a star performer for Brighton and Hove Albion Girls under-17 team at the Gothia World Cup held in Sweden.

The 16-year-old striker was voted player of tournament for Brighton and finished as the leading scorer for her team as she netted three goals from five games.

The Gothia tournament is the largest youth football World Cup. It attracts the top clubs from all over Europe with Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham among those in attendance.

Brighton played well in the group stages, winning all their games including a comprehensive 7-0 victory against the Norwegians in which Paige scored twice and was voted player of the match.

In the knockout phase, Brighton were faced with two matches in one day.

They won the morning game 4-0, a match that included a 25-yard screamer from Paige, but were knocked out on penalties in the afternoon following a 0-0 stalemate with a tough Swedish oufit.

Paige said, “It was a great experience and I loved every minute of it.

“We smashed our group stage and we were doing well in the knockouts but we just lost out on pens.

“There were some really good teams over there and some good players.

“The whole tournament was great and it was good to mix with players from all across Europe.”

Of her goal of the tournament, Paige added, “It was so good. I just received the ball, turned the defender and just blasted it in to the top corner. That was easily my best goal.”

This season, Paige is expected to make the jump from youth football into adult football.

She will be selected for the reserve side but will hope to be in contention for the first team.

Her father Michael Carroll explained, “The first team is a step -up and if she can get a few games that’ll be great.

“At 17 she is still very young and will be competing against older and stronger players up to the age of 35.

“Paige works hard in training and we will see how it goes this season. The main thing is that she enjoys the training and enjoys playing football.

“She has played from a young age and full credit to Polegate Grasshoppers, they really encouraged her and helped her develop as a player.”

Away from football, Paige studies performing arts at the Sussex Downs College.

This week, she played a lead role at the Edinburgh festival in a short production called Growing Pains.

The show received five stars at the Brighton Festival and, if all goes well in Edinburgh, it could be made into a short film.

Her mum Maria added, “Paige is a bit of an all-rounder, she enjoys her football and acting.”