THE last time she strapped on her football boots south of the Border it led to a change in the rules of the game.
But talented footballer Alyshia Walker is now determined to create headlines on the pitch – not off it – after winning a spot in a top tournament.
In 2011, the Bathgate Academy pupil was not allowed to play for her under-13 side Fauldhouse Foxes as girls were banned in boys’ teams at that age group in England – despite being both captain and top scorer.
Her plight prompted calls for an immediate rethink and drew celebrity backing from the likes of pop star Rod Stewart, TV host Lorraine Kelly and DJ Chris Evans – eventually leading to a change in FA regulations. Now we can exclusively reveal the 15-year-old is returning to play a number of competitive fixtures in England for the first time since the scandal . . . this time for Scotland in the European Championships.
The Celtic Girls player, who has bagged an impressive eight goals in 11 international caps, said: “The last time was pretty upsetting because I really wanted to play. This will be my first time playing in England since all that but I just want to let my boots do the talking. I’m in good form and scoring goals so we’re hopeful of doing well.”
She added: “It was incredible to receive the backing I did. I’m glad that girls who play football now have an opportunity to play in the British Cup.”
Alyshia’s troubles arose as the cup final took place in England and as such was governed by English Football Association rules, which prevented girls being part of a boys’ team if they are over 11.
Just three days after her plight was highlighted FA bigwigs caved in to pressure and performed a spectacular u-turn on the ruling.
However, by then, Fauldhouse had been beaten while star player Alyshia could do nothing but watch. Asked how she came to develop her love for the beautiful game, she said: “I have three older brothers and they needed another player and it all came from that.
“I’m really enjoying it with Celtic and Scotland at the moment, last year I scored 32 goals for Celtic and I’m delighted to be getting a chance to play.”
Alyshia isn’t the only local girl to be pulling on a Scottish jersey at the tournament either. She will be joined by Hibs duo Lia Tweedie and Chelsea Cornet, both 15.
Alyshia’s mum, Christine, 42, said: “I’m massively proud of her. She’s so grounded but has always had a clear idea of what she wants to achieve and has just set about doing it.” Scotland will play Germany, Spain and France.