I’ve recently been issuing our Sports Scholars with complimentary hoodies. While doing so, I bumped into Kelly Bourne, one of our Sports Scholarship winners who received a gold award last year.
Kelly was awarded a scholarship based on her achievements in women’s football. She has played for Cardiff City, Blackburn Rovers and represented her country, Wales, at U19’s level.
Kelly is now in the final year of her degree in BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology. As she starts to think about what to do next, I caught up with her to chat about her achievements so far.
“Growing up with two brothers meant I often played different sports to my female friends and took an immediate interest in football. At the age of five, I would always have a ball at my feet, whether it was running through the garden, to being screamed at by my mum for ‘playing football in the house’.
When I started primary school, we had an assembly promoting a local community centre that had just opened. This caught my interest and I was there every day after school, playing football, netball, anything really that I could get my hands, or feet, on. I was even the first person to ever play football in the indoor arena at the community centre which for a young girl/aspiring female footballer, the feeling was amazing.
From there on, things got better and better, I got trials for Cardiff City Football Club and got accepted. Developing through school, I then applied for a Futsal and Education Scholarship at Cardiff City Football Club. Futsal is a great game. The small sized pitch, different size ball and the range of technical and tactical abilities required were really beneficial when going into regular 11-a-side football afterwards. I have continued playing futsal for Bristol City Futsal Club and in summer 2015 we won the Women’s Futsal FA Cup.
At the age of 18, I got my first call-up to the Welsh International set up. Just the call-up in itself is an extremely great honour but I’ve been lucky enough to represent my country four times in Hungary, Russia and in the U19’s UEFA Final Tournament which was hosted in Wales. Since starting university, I have played for Edge Hill’s women’s football team and have been playing for Blackburn Rovers Football Club.
A common question that I get asked is ‘how do you manage to fit it all in?’ but when you are playing a sport you love so much, and you’ve spent your whole life fitting it around everything else, it’s something you just do. Towards the end of my second year in university, I got a call-up to my first ever senior international camp. The prospect was daunting but something I will remember forever. The camp went well and gave me key areas to really push on and improve individually.
The financial support from the Sports Scholarship has and will help me develop in these areas identified at the senior international camp. Likewise, the scholarship has helped fund my travel costs. Moving away from home, where I’m no longer ten minutes from the training ground, means travelling quite a distance to training sessions. Unfortunately as the women’s game is yet to grow financially, this means at Blackburn Rovers we had no expenses covered.
I am thankful for the support of the scholarship. I honestly do believe, if you are good at something, let people know about it and apply. You should be proud and not hold back!”