Tel: 01623 707017
We've Got Mansfield, Ashfield & Sherwood Covered


Stateside adventure for young footballers

Posted onPosted on 24th May

Two teenage footballers are to embark on the journey of a lifetime to develop their careers in the USA.

Ava McCartney and Libby Hudson will further their academic studies, while playing for the inaugural women’s football team at a sports boarding school,

The former Ashfield School students have joined Spire Academy, near Cleveland, Ohio.

The academy, which has just launched a new women’s football programme, boasts one of the largest indoor sports, training, competition, and entertainment complexes in the world.

Ashfield School, Kirkby, congratulated the duo, saying: “Huge congratulations to two of our very talented year 11 students who made it into Spire Academy in America.

“The girls will soon begin their journey to develop their career in women’s football.

“We are blown away by their drive and determination. Good luck to you girls!”

Ava (top) is an accomplished athlete who, as well as playing football, plays basketball and netball.

Among her football achievements are reaching the quarter-finals of the English Schools PlayStation National Cup and captaining Chesterfield Women to a League Cup victory.

Ava said she was impressed by SPIRE’s facilities and football programme, as well as the chance to get immersed in a new learning environment and interact with others from a variety of diverse backgrounds.

“I’m excited about going to SPIRE because of the amazing facilities, the football programme, being able to experience a new learning environment, along with meeting new and interesting people from around the world.”

Libby (above) previously played for Nottingham Forest Ladies under-18s and Chesterfield Women.

I’m excited about going to SPIRE to further my football development and my academic studies,” she said.

“The facilities are amazing and along with great coaching and strength and conditioning sessions. I feel that I will thrive.

“I’m looking forward to travelling to different parts of the USA to play games and consider colleges.”

The students’ move to the USA has been facilitated by Starbridge Sports, a sports academy that helps talented young athletes find their next step in education.

Brett Jones, of Starbridge Sports, said: “SPIRE offers world-leading facilities, coaching staff, and academics, but more importantly it offers a pastoral aspect of support that is essential to international students — a family-orientated focus on professionalism, high standards, and a strong culture of togetherness.

“This undoubtedly supports our recommendation to families and athletes that we work with.”