TWO former students from Mossley Hollins High School are pursuing their dream of becoming professional footballers in America.
Rebecca Lilley and Sophie Adams, both one-time Uppermill FC players, have landed sporting scholarships at universities.
In the case of Lydgate-based Rebecca, 19, she is about to kick off her second year at Campbellsville in Kentucky.
But the journey began days ago for Sophie, 18, when she left for Rio Grande University, Ohio.
And it has been a life-changing experience for left-footed Rebecca who plays either in midfielder or as a striker.
She made the university first team, no mean feat in the first of a four-year programme.
Rebecca said: “Living in the US has been one of the best experiences of my life. It was a big change at first adapting to being a full-time student athlete and I have never been involved in a more professional programme.
“The standard of the football is higher and the whole approach to women’s football is much more professional with the levels of coaching, standard of playing and facilities.
“Kentucky is a lovely place and I have made many new friends while playing the sport I love. I hope from this experience to make it as a full-time professional footballer.
Rebecca, who also went to Milton St John’s, began her playing days at Uppermill FC aged seven.
She most recently played for Tameside United but has also trained with the women’s set-ups at Manchester United and Stockport County.
Rebecca, who is studying for a PE degree, is delighted with the way her first year went at Campbellsville.
“They also have a development squad, but Rebecca has got into the first-team squad, played a handful of games and scored a couple of goals,” explained proud mum Bev.
Rebecca was also a talented cricketer who had trials for Lancashire having played for Saddleworth and excelled at rounders, but football was always going to be her preferred sport.
Sophie, 18, followed a similar route to Rebecca beginning as part of the successful girls’ set-up at Uppermill FC.
The midfield player, who lives in Mossley, has also represented Stalybridge Celtic Juniors, Mossley Juniors, Curzon Ashton and Tameside United.
Sophie, who is studying for a degree in sport and exercise, also had one season at Manchester City.
“She has played football from the moment she walked and hopes this experience will help her achieve her dream of becoming a professional,” explained mum Nicola.