Big up the footy girl from Brampton

A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl from Brampton is the only girl to take part in Match Academy, a television series training youngsters in football skills. Carla Humphrey, who won her place in the team in October, when she was eight, has been training with 21 other pl

A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl from Brampton is the only girl to take part in Match Academy, a television series training youngsters in football skills.

Carla Humphrey, who won her place in the team in October, when she was eight, has been training with 21 other players... all boys.

At the end of the series, half of them played in a team coached by Harry Redknapp, the Portsmouth manager. The others, including Carla, played in a team for John Gregory, former manager of Aston Villa.

Carla can be seen on Sunday on Channel Five when the second show in the series will be aired. The programme has been made in association with Match, the UK's best selling youth football magazine.


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Carla, whose mum, Kerry, describes her as "football mad", qualified for the programme at trials in London and Newcastle.

She then won a place at the academy - at Butlins in Skegness - spending a week with some of the country's finest coaches.

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At the end of the week, Gregory's team, The Giants, played Redknapp's Hotshots with Premiere League ref, Jeff Winter in charge.

At the end of the series, viewers will see a judging panel award prizes, including a Man of the Match award to be conferred by the Northern Ireland international football coach, Laurie Sanchez. Talent scouts were watching the action.

Carla, a midfielder, said: "It felt really exciting. The best part was the match at the end and the most difficult part was when we had to leave all our friends at the end of the week."

She added: "I learnt different skills and quite a lot of things. I improved my running with the ball by learning to do it keeping my head up so I could see across the field."

Yesterday, (Tuesday) Carla, a pupil at Brampton Junior School, left for Denmark, where she will play with her home team Rushden and Diamonds. Carla, who plays for the under 10s, has been a member of the club's Centre of Excellence for Girls since she was seven.

INFORMATION: Match Academy is on Channel Five on Sunday at 11am.

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