A talented footballer from Kinmel Bay conquered her fear of flying to represent Wales at an international tournament.
Midfielder Amy Woodbridge, 16, was a key member of the Welsh team at the 2015 Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam.
The competition, which is open to players over 16 or over who have been homeless or who are or have been social housing tenants in the previous 12 months, is held annually between teams representing more than 70 nationalities.
It was a big step up from playing for Kinmel Bay Girls’ team and housing association Cartrefi Conwy’s street football side.
Amy, who lives on Cartrefi Conwy’s Chester Avenue estate with her mum, dad, two sisters and a brother, booked her seat on the plane to Holland after performing well at a trials match in South Wales.
However, Amy admits she was petrified of getting on board for her first every flight as she prepared to fly out with the rest of the squad.
She said: “I was very nervous as I’d never been on a plane before.
“I was asked to go to Newport for the trials for the Homeless World Cup and went along not expecting to be selected but I got a phone call the next day to tell me I’d been picked.
“It was massive to represent Wales and I was over the moon – just terrified of the flight! We flew out during September and did OK. We finished 9th overall and qualified for the ‘Plate’ tournament.
“There were some good sides. We played England, USA, Sweden, Romania, Hungry, Brazil, Argentina, loads of teams. I got an injury in the first game; I damaged my foot which meant I missed some of the second day’s games.”
Amy, who began playing football as a goalkeeper before switching to the right side of midfield, says the tournament was a wonderful experience.
She said: “I’m studying public services and sport science at Llandrillo College now and want to work in football coaching if I can. Playing in Amsterdam gave me loads of experience and confidence.
“Cartrefi Conwy have been brilliant without their help I wouldn’t have got there to be fair. I enjoy playing for the street football team and everyone has been dead friendly. It’s something I can be proud of.”
Amy’s mum, Linda Woodbridge, says playing in Amsterdam has given her daughter a massive boost.
She said: “Amy is really determined and has done so well. Her dad, Brian, and the rest of the family are really proud of her. It’s a massive achievement to be fair especially as she was one of the youngest. Most of the rest of the team were in their late teens or early 20’s.
“Mixing with other people, especially people from other countries has really helped Amy’s confidence and self-esteem. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
She added; “To be fair Cartrefi Conwy have been brilliant and backed her all the way as have the town council. It’s amazing the boost it’s given her. I know she was petrified of flying but I’m glad she went.”
Cartrefi Conwy’s Chester Avenue Community House manager, Zara Roberts, said: “Everyone at Chester Avenue Community House is thrilled for Amy, it’s a massive achievement. She is a lovely girl and deserved her chance.
“We want to see our tenants have the opportunity to participate in events such as the Homeless World Cup, which includes people living in social housing. We try to encourage physical activities which have such massive health benefits.
“Amy not only represented Wales when she went to Amsterdam she represented her Chester Avenue community and Cartrefi Conwy. I’m really pleased for her and hope she now gets the chance to work in football coaching which would be her dream job.”