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Women's Football News
Sutton teenagers Annabel Prior and Fern Colepio have each signed valuable contracts to play for LA Tech University ladies soccer team in the prestigious USA Conference League.
They fly out to Louisiana in August for pre-season training. Only 2% of women soccer players get to sign contracts for Division 1 in the US.
Speaking at a contract signing event on 6 February, Annabel said: "This is a dream come true. From the age of 6 I have played football and have always wanted to play at a high level. Going to LA Tech gives me this opportunity."
Fern is equally thrilled, commenting: "This is a really exciting lifetime experience. I feel so lucky and I am looking forward to the next few years in America."
In return for playing soccer for the University, each girl has been awarded a scholarship to fund university education and costs of living. The contracts are initially for 12 months, extending to four years. In total, these contracts are worth over US$100,000 to each girl.
Help in identifying these opportunities and securing the girls' scholarships was provided by Girl Scholar USA, a relatively new local company based in Croydon. Company Founder and Director, Amy Price, said: "I am absolutely delighted for Annabel and Fern. They have both played junior football at the highest levels in the UK, and their contracts to play in America are testament to their talent. I am especially pleased that Girl Scholar USA has been able to play an important role in securing their scholarships towards longer-term development. I wish them both every success in their future football careers."
Annabel Prior, aged 17, attends Overton Grange sixth form. She started her football career at the age of six, playing in the West Sutton Little League in Cheam Park, as well as being a formidable striker in Sutton's Avenue Primary School team. At the age of 11 she was selected to join the FA's Centres of Excellence junior development programme, and was recruited to play for Fulham FC and latterly Chelsea FC. In 2012, Annabel played for the team which saw Chelsea FC's U17s top the league table and win the FA Junior Cup Final against Arsenal. She has also played for AFC Wimbledon, and is currently playing senior level football for Charlton Athletic Women's FC.
Fern Colepio (age 17) attends Wallington High School for Girls sixth form. She started playing football at the age of six at her primary school, where she captained the school football team. At age 11 she joined Beecholme Belles Girls Football Club where the team won the Surrey County Cup. She subsequently joined Fulham FC Centre of Excellence and then Chelsea FC U17 Centre of Excellence where, alongside Annabel, the team had the pleasure of winning both the South East U17 FA Centre of Excellence League and the National FA Junior Cup. She is now enjoying her first year at senior level football with Millwall Lionesses.
Girl Scholar USA is an athlete recruitment company, dedicated to female athletes and female US college sports programmes. It aims to help young female athletes from all over the world to pursue both their sporting and academic careers in the United States, by helping them to secure a scholarship. Company Founder and Director, Amy Price, is herself a former US college soccer coach.
LA Tech University is based in Ruston, Louisiana. The University was founded in 1894 and is now one of the top universities in the country, with high graduation rates and sporting achievements. In recent years, over $200 million has been spent to ensure the highest quality of sports facilities are available on-campus, including a 30,000-seater football stadium.
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