Rafa’s goal is to play hockey for England

Tuesday 15 November 2016

The dream of representing her country could soon be reality for a young hockey player from The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) after her selection for England Hockey’s U16 training squad.

Rafa Brandao-Lee, Year 11, has just returned from the first in a series of weekend training camps with the England U16s. At the monthly camps she will be hoping to catch the eye of selectors picking the teams for international tournaments next spring.

The 34 training squad members were selected following the Futures Cup in October half-term, a tournament in which four English regional teams, Scotland and Wales competed, giving some of the UK’s best young players their first experience of a major tournament and the chance to impress national junior coaches.

Rafa said: “The play at the Futures Cup was hard but fun, and it was good to play against new people at a really high standard. The highlight for our northern squad was a 4-0 win against Wales! I’m so excited to be selected to train with England U16s; I would love to play senior hockey for England one day and this gives me the chance of selection for my first international tournament – the European cup next Easter.”

Head of hockey at GSAL, Kate Tiffen, said: “The staff at GSAL recognised Rafa’s potential early on, and it has been a real team effort that has included coaches from within and outside school who have contributed to her ongoing success. We are very proud of her and wish her the very best of luck in the future”.

Having been a keen football player at primary school, Rafa took up hockey at the age of 10 and never looked back. She has been a regular in her school teams ever since, reaching the national schools finals four years running, plays in the ladies first team for Wakefield Hockey Club and has also represented the North of England for the past three years.

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