Foundation of Light Football Scholar Maria Farrugia has spoken of her pride at signing for Sunderland AFC Ladies.
The Malta international, 18, put pen to paper for the Lady Black Cats earlier this month following in the footsteps of fellow Scholars Emily Hutchison and Hannah Skull.
Although her first start ended in defeat at FAWNL Northern Premier Division leaders Blackburn Rovers Ladies, Maria has settled in quickly and scored her first goal for Melanie Reay’s side against Hull City Ladies at the weekend.
“Being part of a professional team like Sunderland AFC Ladies is a very nice and positive experience. My objective is to keep developing and become a better football player.
I’ve worked hard for this opportunity and would like to thank my coaches and technical staff at SAFC Ladies and Foundation of Light for giving me the chance to be part of this club.
I also have great respect for my team-mates who helped me to settle in so quickly.
Regarded as one of her country’s brightest prospects, the youngster moved to Wearside with her mother in 2016 after graduating from the Malta National Sports School and began training with the Foundation’s Ladies Scholars.
Steve McClarence, Scholars Ladies’ Head Coach, said: “Naturally Maria was very shy and quiet when she joined but has grown in confidence as a result of playing and training with us during her time on the programme and with SAFC Ladies.
“She has developed as a person and a player over the past two years. Maria is a very hardworking individual and doesn’t give up no matter the challenge.
“We were very proud when she signed for Sunderland AFC Ladies, especially considering where she has come from.”
Already making five appearances for Malta, Steve believes Maria will become a key figure in her country’s bid to qualify for the Women’s World Cup and SAFC Ladies’ bid to reclaim their place in the Women’s Super League.
He adds: “The next challenge for Maria will be to help SAFC Ladies try and get in to the Women’s Championship and then the Women’s Super League.
“We believe she has the skill, potential and drive to play at the highest level and star for Malta for many years to come.
“Maria can go as far as she wants in the game.”
Foundation of Light’s Football Scholarship gives talented footballers aged 16-18 years old the opportunity to represent Sunderland AFC against Premier League and EFL development teams while gaining nationally recognised qualifications through an extensive football and education programme.
For more information, or to register your interest in a recruitment event, visit www.foundationoflight.co.uk/careers-training/football-scholarship/.
Written By CHRIS FRYATT
18 February 2019