Soccer star Jade jets home for Christmas

JADE BELL is home for Christmas – but the Ramsey-born 18-year-old can’t wait to get back to the US where she is pursuing her dream of becoming a professional footballer.

In August, after winning a scholarship on the strength of video clips uploaded to the internet, the former Spinning Infants, Ramsey Juniors and Abbey College pupil jetted off to the States to attend Texas A&M, where she is the only international student in the university’s prestigious ‘soccer’ programme.

“It’s a dream come true,” she says. “Although it was extremely hard to leave my family and friends, I knew it was the chance of a lifetime.”

Bell studied sport at Huntingdonshire Regional College and played for Peterborough Ladies and England Colleges. It was while she was with Peterborough that she was talent-spotted by scouts from at least two other American universities. “When I found out they were interested, I began writing letters to more,” she said. And with the help of college lecturer Paul Sullivan and her Ladies’ coach Marina Rudd, she was accepted onto a scholarship programme by Texas A&M University after they were impressed with her ‘demonstration video’ on the YouTube website.

Bell is now doing so well that, out of all the players in the eight teams in her regional college league, she has been named ‘Freshman of the Year’.

Her biggest fan, her mother Annette, can’t wait to fly out to see her play next year.

Mrs Bell told The Hunts Post: “We’re really happy for her and I can’t begin to tell you how proud we are. I have watched her play twice live on Skype, which was amazing – but I miss seeing her play properly.

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“We used to do the football thing together. When she left there were tears, and then there was boredom because suddenly I didn’t have anything to do. I had to join a gym.”

Bell will spend Christmas and new year with her parents and friends before returning to America on January 15. Will she miss Ramsey when she goes back to Texas? “I will miss my family and friends very much,” she said, adding: “It is a very different world in Texas.”