MOTHERWELL student Emily Thomson is off to Russia this weekend as Scotland Women’s U19s try to qualify for 2012 UEFA European Championship.
An attacker with Celtic Ladies, Emily (18) is the current Scotland vice-captain and trains at the Scottish FA National Performance Centre for women’s football at Stirling University while studying for a BA in Sports Studies.
The former Arsenal Ladies Academy player and several other members of the squad are supported by national sports scholarship programme Winning Students.
Scotland will play three matches in Sochi against the host country and then take on Italy and Spain.
Emily was part of was part of the successful U19s team which reached the 2010 finals in Macedonia and believes the team is ready to repeat the feat.
She said: “Competing at the finals was such a great experience and I will be doing everything to encourage the squad to make it there again.
“The individual training at the Performance Centre is great and my fitness levels have really improved. You are living, studying and training in a football environment so the Centre has given us the best possible opportunity to succeed.
“We had a good run of results during a training camp in La Manga so we’ll be going to Russia with confidence. We might be seen as the underdogs, but we don’t feel like that - we feel reaching the finals are achievable.
“It is my last year at this level so hopefully I can pass on my experience, set a good example to the younger players and prove I should get a chance with the senior squad.”
Winning Students currently supports more than 120 talented athletes across 31 Scottish colleges and universities, providing funding support and academic flexibility.