Having one family member represent their country at football is something anyone would be proud of – but four is in a different league.
But then Bonnyrigg youngsters Natasha, Simone, Dion and Whitney McMahon – who are fast making their mark in the footballing world – share their talent with another member of the clan, Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher.
The McMahons are already on their way to becoming the first family in the country to boast four sisters playing for the national football squad.
The girls all dream of becoming professionals in women’s football, which is the fastest growing sport in the world.
Darren – the son of their dad’s cousin – is a big supporter of Natasha, 16, Simone, 14, Dion, 13, and Whitney, 12 and has been on hand to offer the girls all the advice they need.
“He’s a great role model for us, as he is for any kid interested in football,” said Natasha, who is working to become a qualified coach of grassroots teams in Midlothian.
“He takes a keen interest our progress – he just tells us to keep working hard and doing our best.”
The footballing foursome have honed their skills through soccer centres and holiday programmes run by Midlothian Council’s SFA Football Development Officer, former Hibs striker Keith Wright.
Natasha and Simone have recently been selected to play for Scotland, Natasha as right back in the under-17s girls’ team and Simone, also as right back, for the under-15s. And Whitney and Dion are coming up through the SFA’s players’ pathway to the top.
Keeper Whitney and Dion, a defender, are part of the South East Region U15 squad.
In June, Whitney hit the headlines after going 50 games without conceding a single goal with the St Luke’s Primary School’s girls team.
The sisters, who train five times a week as well as playing matches, now all attend St David’s High. Natasha said: “It’s great that we are getting this recognition because we all take football really seriously and prepare ourselves for every training session and match we attend.
“We encourage each other, so we would really like to be playing on the national side together.”
Mum Liz, 37, a carer and volunteer coach with the St Luke’s Primary boys and girls teams, said: “I think what we are most proud of is the girls’ determination and commitment to the sport, they have worked so hard to get where they are.
“Any child who has the ambition to do well, if they stick at it and have the right attitude, they can go far.”