A young Eastbourne footballer was called up to play for the Wales Under 16s national squad in Aberystwyth, Wales last night (Thursday).
Rhyle Ovenden, of Willingdon, was selected by technical director and head coach Osain Roberts as part of an 18-man squad to compete against Scotland Under 16’s.
The match, which took place at Aberystwyth Town FC’s Park Avenue ground, was televised live on Sky Sports.
Despite being from Eastbourne, Ovenden qualified to play for Wales through his grandfather, who was born in Barry, a seaside town in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Ovenden, who travelled to Denmark over the summer to participate in a youth tournament, currently plays as a central midfielder and occasional captain for the Brighton and Hove Albion academy squad at the under-16 level.
The Willingdon Community School pupil, who spent the past week in Newport at Dragon Park, the Wales national developmental centre, was spotted by scouts while representing Brighton in an impressive display against Bristol City.
Prior to signing for the Seagulls in 2012, Ovenden played for Old Town Boys, a team that has recently been re-branded as Eastbourne Town Youth, from the age of four.
As part of the young Wales squad, Ovenden rubbed shoulders with academy stars of such top-tier clubs as Everton, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City.
“It’s quite crazy,” said Anthony Ovenden, Rhyle’s father, who alongside his wife travelled down to Wales to see his son play.
“He has only been at Brighton for a year, and the fact that he is part of a team that will be playing on live TV is unbelievable.”