A TEENAGER whose international footballing career has seen her travel to Belgium, Italy and Norway will play in the US for the next three years after accepting a scholarship.
It’s been quite the life already for 18-year-old Keri Matthews, who moved to Barnsley from South Africa when she was just seven years old - and it looks like she’s on her way right to the very top.
Both athletically and academically gifted, Keri accepted a scholarship at Arizona State University earlier this year despite having offers from six universities in America after getting three A*s in her A-levels while studying at Penistone Grammar School.
Her parents, 51-year-old Shona and 50-year-old Scott, who live in Silkstone Common, think that being one of the only girls in her family helped her to where she is today.
Scott told the Chronicle: “She’s always been very competitive as coming from a family where all the cousins she played with were boys.
“She had to play rugby and other sports when she was playing with them because they were never going to want to play with her dolls.
“Keri moved over from South Africa in 2010 when she was seven and she started out playing football at Barugh Green where she was the goalkeeper with the boys team - but she found her position later on.”
She was scouted by Sheffield United when she arrived in England and her footballing career has only gone up - and having been capped more than ten times by England she’s hoping that she’ll be able to make it in the Women’s Super League.
“She played in the junior academy at Sheffield United for five years before heading to York for three more,” Scott added.
“She then came back to play for Sheffield United Ladies when she was just 16 years old and she played there until she left for Arizona.
“She started playing representative football at 15 and she got her first cap in Belgium with the development squad.
“During her GCSE year she spent a lot of time away with England for tournaments - she’s played in places like Italy, Belgium and Norway and she now has 13 caps - we’re so proud of her.”
Keri moved to Arizona two months ago and will play for the university for the next three and a half years - and despite travelling with a fractured foot, the team have won their first four games.
“Just before Keri left she had a fracture on her foot,” her dad added.
“She’s been doing a lot of rehab work and hopefully in the next few days we’ll hear some good news.
“Her ultimate goal is to be a professional footballer but she’s also doing a marketing degree whilst she’s at university.
“During lockdown it was all about playing football and studying for her - she’s 100 per cent committed and her work ethic is absolutely incredible.
“The style of football is very different over in America and she’ll grow as a player whilst she’s there.
“There’s a lot of junior internationals in her new team from around the world, as well as one senior international, and she’ll learn a lot there.”