Budding football star Shaunna Jenkins insists confidence is soaring as she looks to one day realise her dream of playing for a professional club.
The 16-year-old, from Aberaeronn, currently plays for Cwbran Celtic, who have just finished fourth in the Welsh Premier Women’s League.
After establishing herself in the first team and on the fringe of the Wales national squad, Jenkins is aiming big, admitting she would love to star in the FA Women’s Super League in England one day.
Jenkins is part of the first ever cohort at the Elite Football Academy at Coleg y Cymoedd, and insists that the move to the Ystrad Mynach campus has done wonders on and off the pitch.
Jenkins, who also benefits from being a part of the SSE Next generation programme, spoke about her time at Coleg y Cymoedd: “People who I have spoken to are gutted that they didn’t have this chance in the past but we have it now. I wasn’t sure whether to go to this college or not but now I have gone there, I am so glad. At the start I wasn’t that confident but it has just made a massive difference to myself and really boosted my confidence. I am not as nervous now.
“We have college games too and played a five-a-side tournament. We won and went to Newcastle and it was really nice to play a game like that with a new bunch of girls and help them, and give them the guidance that I had and pass on what I know to them. I would like to start in my WSL 2 (Women’s Super League 2) and then make my way up to WSL 1 (Women’s Super League 1) eventually and stay in there until the end of my career.”
This year Jenkins has represented Wales LadiesUnder-19s, while she has also been a part of the senior squad at times and she admits the experience is one that has only served to whet her appetite for more.
“It is a great experience, going on camps with the seniors. It is just getting to know what they are like and that makes a massive difference. I would say that has beneficiated me in a way too, because I am one of the youngest ones there and to go into a team with so much talent is so hard but so good at the same time.”
SSE’s Next Generation Programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future.