Preston school pair are off to play soccer in USA

Holly Rawcliffe
Holly Rawcliffe
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College students Katie Brannigan and Holly Rawcliffe are the envy of their classmates.

Like most of their friends at Cardinal Newman College in Preston are hoping to head to university after the summer break this pair are heading further afield than most.

I knew from about 11 that I wanted to go to America to play as the opportunities for women and girls in football are so much better than here in the UK.

The year 13 students have both netted top scholarships to colleges in the USA.

Both 18-year-olds are keen football players and have been playing since primary school age. Katie said: “I’d always wanted to study in America and with women’s football being so much bigger over there; I saw this as my way to being able to pursue this.”

She already has several club accolades under her belt and currently plays for Everton’s under 21 women’s team.

The process of getting the scholarship has been a long one and Katie said: “My mum and I did a lot of research over the years about the best way to go about getting a scholarship to America and Pass4Soccer seemed to us to be the best way of going about it.”

She collected footage of herself playing, which was created into a montage and put on the website for potential coaches all over the US to view and also took part in a showcase in London where she was spotted by scout.

She now has a place at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, where she will also study for a degree in film and media with creative writing which she hopes will land her a job in the American film industry.

For Holly, who currently plays for Preston North End Women’s squad, going to the US is a dream come true.

She said: “I knew from about 11 that I wanted to go to America to play as the opportunities for women and girls in football are so much better than here in the UK.”

Holly was picked by Limestone College in South Carolina after going online and will study a general physical education degree alongside playing football for the team.

She said: “I head out there at the beginning of August and will have to do strength and conditioning for a couple of weeks before starting the season in mid-August. The season runs to the end of November and during that time I will play in the Carolina’s Conference.”