Local Coleraine girl Lauren Wade, a formal pupil at Dunluce School in Bushmills has been making a name for herself in the USA after a debut season to remember.
Lauren left Dunluce in 2010 before going on to the Northern Regional College to study Sports Development, Coaching and Fitness and is now currently a senior international for Northern Ireland .
In a recent interview with Irish FA it was revealed that Wade scored 20 goals in 17 games, creating 11 assists, as she was voted the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year.
Lauren said to Irish FA: “Firstly my friend Jackie is there at the minute. She told the coach that I was interested in playing but at my age I didn’t want to go back and study. But the coach mailed me, we chatted and I was on my way to America.
“I’m studying a Masters in Business Administration. It’s only one day a week so I’m studying on a Monday evening for four hours, and I train every day.”
Scoring goals is obviously the best feeling a striker can experience and so it comes as no surprise that Wade is loving life. She said: “Going to play football every day is one of the best things you can do. I thought that would sort of enhance my career and make me a better player.
“I’m really, really enjoying it. Just playing every day is one of the best things and I’m very blessed to play the sport I love every day.”
Wade started in Northern Ireland Women’s 1-0 win against Portugal last week and she believes playing in America also benefits her on the international stage.
She said: “Training every day and being able to cope with training every day has helped and I bring that back to here. If we are doing two sessions and two games I feel I can cope with it.”
Lauren also revealed she would love to make football her full-time career. She said: “I hope I can get a semi-pro or pro contract in America, or anywhere in the world, but the future is that I want to play football every day.”
Speaking to Causeway Coast Community this afternoon, the father of Lauren, Paul Baird, said : “All of my daughter’s hard work has paid off over the last number of years. Everything she has achieved has been through dedication and hard graft and as her father I am just so proud of her.”